“As a nation, we spend 86% of our health care dollars on the treatment of chronic diseases. These persistent conditions—the nation’s leading causes of death and disability—leave in their wake deaths that could have been prevented, lifelong disability, compromised quality of life, and burgeoning health care costs.” – CDC
The best way to control and even reverse chronic diseases is through lifestyle changes. Diet is the most important key to producing lasting change. We have been told to eat our fruits and vegetables since childhood, but now research shows why it is such good advice:
- Healthy diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.
- Fruits and vegetables also provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that are important for good health.
- Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and are filling.
Yet despite knowing how good they are for us, surveys show that across the country we are not eating as much as we should. And looking at the map* of the most and least average vegetable intake, we see that some of those states with the lowest vegetable intake are also those that have the highest obesity rates.
The recommended intake is about 2 cups of fruits and 3 cups of vegetables a day. It is fairly easy to get the right amount. Try adding a small apple or a large banana to breakfast for one cup of fruit. A salad at dinner with a cup of lettuce and another ½ cup of other vegetable toppings gets you half way to your goal for vegetables. Six baby carrots, four large strawberries or 16 average sized grapes equal about ½ a cup for a healthy snack.
Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet to prevent and even reverse chronic diseases.
* To read the full State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables from 2013, click on the link.