The proof is indisputable – eating more fruits and vegetables makes you healthier. You get the benefit without any deprivation at all. It is all about eating more! You simply need to eat more fruits and vegetables everyday. If that means you naturally and easily cut out from your diet some of the less healthy foods (white flour and sugar heavy foods or too many animal foods), then so be it – all the more benefit for you.
*Keep reading – below there is a list of fun ways to eat more fruits & veggies!
A recently published study (2011 JACC) from Dr. Lanfranco D’Elia (et al) out of The University of Naples Medical School in Italy, found a 21% decrease in the risk for stroke for eating 1.64 grams per day more of potassium. We get most of our potassium from fruits and vegetables so that is the easiest and healthiest way to increase your potassium intake.
The Adequate Intake for potassium set by the USDA in 2004 is 4.7 grams per day for adults. There is no problem with excess intake for healthy adults and there is no reason to think you could ever get too much potassium by eating too many fruits and vegetables. I don’t think anyone has even gotten obese or developed cardiovascular disease by eating too many fruits and vegetables! Only those people with kidney excretion problems or on certain medications would ever need to worry about getting too much potassium.
(Everything you ever wanted to know about potassium can be found here at the National Agricultural Library’s Dietary Reference Intakes Report from the USDA http://fnic.nal.usda.gov/nal_display/index.php?info_center=4&tax_level=4&tax_subject=256&topic_id=1342&level3_id=5141&level4_id=10592 . Potassium info starts on page 186.)
Dr. Colin Campbell, a professor emeritus from Cornell University, wrote a book called The China Study, in which he reports on the multitude of benefits of eating a mostly plant-based diet. In the book, he states that for every serving of fruits or vegetables you eat per day, you lower your risk of stroke by 22%. Not bad statistics!
Fun and Delicious Foods To Help You Decrease Your Stroke Risk (and the risk of just about every disease you can think of, including cancer)
Juicy watermelon on a hot day
Frozen banana and strawberry smoothies
Mixed greens salads with extra veggies and protein for dinner
Baby spinach mixed into your eggs or omelets
Thick tomato slices on your sandwiches
Broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, and mushrooms added to your pasta dishes
Almond butter on apple slices (nuts are plants, too)
Ants on a log (peanut butter on celery with raisin “ants”)
Roasted sweet potatoes (instead of white potatoes)
Mashed root vegetables (add parsnips and/or turnips to your mashed potatoes)
Crudite platters (place on the counter while preparing dinner for healthy “picking”)
Roasted red peppers, spinach, and tomato slices on your pizza
Hummus and cucumbers for a mini-meal in the afternoon
Sliced oranges as a side dish
Fresh corn on the cob (and skip the potatoes and bread!)
Mixed raw nuts and dried, unsweetened fruit (a great “emergency” snack to have on hand)
Half of a grapefruit alongside your eggs and toast
An apple a day (you know why)
Happy and Healthy Eating!
Dr. Amy Mercovich