How would you like to reduce your risk of death by heart disease by 20%? Sound good? Guess where this ‘miracle solution” comes from?
No, it’s not a new drug – the ‘miracle solution’ is Fruits and Vegetables. No side effects to this solution, except vibrant health, more energy, lower risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, lower blood pressure, and a reduced risk of overall disease of any kind, as well as natural healthy glowing skin, improved digestion (and therefore immunity and mood), better sleep and better adaptability to stressors in life.
Sounds pretty good doesn’t it?
New research suggests that not eating enough fruits and vegetables to be a major factor in heart disease death and have “dire consequences for cardiovascular health”. After compiling research from numerous studies, the researchers found that the risk of heart disease is 20 % lower among people who ate more than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day than those who eat less than 3 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
The research points out that a low consumption of fruit resulted in more than 1.3 million deaths from stroke and over 500,000 deaths from heart disease. Low veggie intake resulted in about 200,000 deaths from stroke and over 800,000 deaths from heart disease.
The wonders of nature:
Just what is it in fruits and vegetables that pack such a powerful influence over our health? Fruits and vegetables provide a plethora of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber that work synergistically in the body to naturally lower blood pressure and cholesterol. The fiber in fruits and vegetables provides the right raw materials to build healthy gut bacteria and improve digestion and nutrition. Healthy gut bacteria means you improve your immune system and mood as well as optimize your ability to absorb the nutrients from the food that you eat.
People who eat a lot of fruits and vegetables are less likely to be overweight or obese which lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Just eating the equivalent of 2 small fruits per day and about 3 cups of raw veggies is enough to make a difference and reduce cardiovascular risk factors by over 20%. Most medications cannot boast those statistics!
Eating more fruits and vegetables is a habit- just like any other lifestyle change. Here are a few ways to begin the habit of fitting more fruits and vegetables into your day.
Tips to Eat more Fruits and Veggies:
1. Start at breakfast: Add fruit to your breakfast routine. A fresh cup of blueberries ( blueberries are terrific for your blood pressure) is a great addition to your oatmeal or just as a morning ritual with your coffee. Add veggies like peppers, onions, mushrooms and some fresh spinach to your eggs.
2. Don’t Hide the Fruit: A fresh bowl of fruit is not only delightful to look at; it can remind and inspire you to eat from it. Whether in your home or in the truck or at your desk, placing fresh fruit in plain site can remind you to eat it.
3. Build up your Lunch: Lunch provides a great opportunity to add more veggies and fruit. Add a salad with different leafy greens, raw veggies and lots of color. Fresh fruit is a perfect way to complete the meal. If you eat a sandwich, load it up with veggies like leafy greens, fresh avocado, tomatoes, onions and any other veggie that will fit.
4. Frozen is fine: Always having fresh fruit or veggies is not always easy. Don’t fret- frozen is fine and is a quick and easy way to add veggies to a meal. Frozen fruits can mimic a popsicle on a hot day and make smoothies taste great with natural sweetness.
5. Rethink your plate: So many of us focus on protein or starches and carbs when we fill out plate. Change it up- fill at least half your plate with vegetables.
6. Snacks: Instead of the chips, grab a cup of crunchy celery, snap peas or carrots.
7. Soups on: It’s easy to make a pot of fresh vegetable soup instead of the store bought high sodium kind. Purchase low sodium chicken, beef or veggie broth and simmer in some fresh veggies. Add onions, celery and carrots and any other veggie of your choice. Make sure you add a green veggie (kale, spinach, collard greens are all available frozen – just add them to the broth).
8. Drink them: A smoothie is a great way to up your veggie and fruit intake, especially if you need to ‘grab and go’ your breakfast or lunch. Add a cup of spinach, a banana and some frozen blueberries to unsweetened vanilla almond milk or coconut water and put them in a blender. (you’d be surprised how many drivers have blenders in their trucks and are quite successful in whipping up different healthy smoothie drinks in a pinch.)
Here is a delicious green smoothie recipe that can add 2 and a half servings of fruits and veggies to your day and is packed with Vitamin C.
SPINACH ORANGE GREEN SMOOTHIE RECIPE
(see this recipe and more ideas at https://dailyburn.com/life/recipes/healthy-green-smoothie-recipes/)
- 1 navel orange, peeled
- 1/2 banana, peeled
- 1 cup tightly packed organic spinach
- 1/4 cup coconut water, adjusted as desired
- 1 tablespoon hemp seeds, optional
1. Add all ingredients to a blender with a few ice cubes and blend on high to combine.
2. Add more coconut water as desired to reach desired consistency for smoothie.
3. Pour into a glass and enjoy!
Lowering our risk of death from heart disease by eating at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day is an easily attainable habit. Change is not always easy but using these small tips and gradually changing your habits everyday can have dramatic effects on your overall health.
By: Cindy Luisi WHE, WHC, CCP, CDL Wellness Coach