Per a recent study published by the CDC just 1 in 10 adults meet the federal fruit or vegetable recommendations. The report highlights that very few Americans eat the recommended amount of fruits and veggies every day, putting them at risk for chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Thus, we’re missing out on the essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that fruits and vegetables provide.
Seven of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States are from chronic diseases. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables daily can help reduce the risk of many leading causes of illness and death, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and obesity.
How much do we need?
You’ve heard it a thousand times, that little catchphrase with the magic number encouraging you to eat “five a day” of fruits and vegetables for better health. But it turns out that the real magic number is eight, per a comprehensive study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology. But unlike most food we eat, more is better.
10 Servings a Day?
Aim for 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Any fewer gives you less protection from disease and premature death. People who reached the magic number of 10 had a 31% lower chance of dying, throughout the studies, than those who ate little or none. The researchers estimated that up to seven million lives could be saved worldwide every year if all of us had access to and chose to consume enough fruits and veggies. And we’d not only live longer but would have a greatly increased quality of life, too.
So, what do 10 servings a day look like?
In that study, the researchers defined 10 servings as 800 grams or 1.75 pounds of produce per day. The US Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion defines a serving as follows:
1 cup raw leafy greens
½ cup other vegetables, raw or cooked (potatoes, tomatoes, squash, peppers, cabbage, etc.)
1 medium fruit such as an apple, banana, orange, or pear
½ cup chopped, cooked, or canned fruit
You can get your 10 a day by eating a big salad, a couple of cups of steamed greens, a large baked potato, a veggie pizza slice with tomato, onion, and green pepper, an apple, a banana, and a cup of grapes. For people who love the taste of fruits and veggies, 10 a day is attainable. But many people have developed a dislike for vegetables.
Try it for a few weeks and your new cravings may be green and juicy!