Fargo VA Health Care System
Color My Plate
September is Fruit and Veggies Month!
Fruits and vegetables come in terrific colors and flavors, but their real beauty lies in what's inside. Fruits and vegetables have many nutrients vital for the health and maintenance of your body, such as dietary fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamins A & C. Including fruits and veggies as part of your healthy diet may lower your risk of developing some chronic diseases including; heart disease, stroke, hypertension, cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, and certain cancers. Clearly fruits and vegetables matter, but how do we know how much we need or how much is enough?
How Much Do I Need?
Your daily fruit and vegetable requirements depend on your calorie needs. Every individual's needs are different and depend on age, gender, weight, and physical activity level. For your personal daily recommended value visit www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov and click on "How Many Fruits and Vegetables Do You Need?"
Know Your Risk Factors
It's important to know whether or not you are at risk for heart disease. Risk factors for heart disease include factors such as; smoking, high blood pressure, low HDL, high LDL, diabetes, family history, and age. The greater the number of these risk factors you have, the greater your risk for heart disease. Additionally, people with a previous history of heart attack, stroke, carotid artery disease or artery blockage in the neck, and peripheral artery disease or blockages in the extremities such as arms and legs, are considered at high risk for heart disease.
How Much Is Enough?
Thinking about serving sizes and recommended daily values can be overwhelming for anyone. What does a serving of broccoli look like? How many baby carrots are in a cup? Even the most well-versed nutrition professionals don't have all these measurements memorized! So the USDA has come up with an easier concept. The website: www.choosemyplate.gov insists on making it simple, with the half your plate concept. Simply fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal or eating occasion. Making fruits and vegetables the focal point of every meal will help you meet your recommended amount each day without having to do the math. So remember to incorporate more fruits and vegetables this month, and paint your plate!