September Health Beat

“Karen’s Kolumn” is researched and written by Public Health Nurse Karen Dolley. We appreciate her support and willingness to share!

September is Fruits and Veggies-More Matters Month!

The Centers for Disease Control join other public and private organizations this month to promote eating fruits and vegetables for better health. The vast majority of Americans do not get their recommended intake of fruits and vegetables. Consumption of less healthy foods and beverages like soda and fatty fast foods is replacing healthier foods such as fruits and vegetables, especially among young people. French fries account for about one third of vegetable servings among children ages 2-19 years old!

A wide variety of fruits and vegetables provides your body with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. People who eat more fruits and vegetables are more likely to have a reduced risk for many chronic diseases including stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Intake of some high fiber fruits and vegetables is associated with lower blood glucose and lower blood lipid levels. Most fruits and vegetables are low in calories and low in fat. Substituting fruits and vegetables for higher calorie foods can be part of a weight loss program. Fruits and vegetables are a natural source of energy. Diets rich in potassium from beet greens, sweet potatoes, and white potatoes may help to maintain a healthy blood pressure. Diets rich in Vitamin A from carrots, spinach, and winter squash help keep eyes and skin healthy and help to protect against infections. Diets rich in Vitamin C from peppers, kiwi, strawberries, oranges, and broccoli help heal wounds and keep teeth and gums healthy. Adequate Folate from spinach and asparagus may reduce a woman’s risk of having a child with a brain or spinal cord defect.

All fresh, frozen, dried, or canned fruits and vegetables count toward a fruit and vegetable goal. Look for fruit without added sugar or syrups and vegetables without added salt, butter, or cream sauces.

At http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov you can find more information about the benefits of fruits and vegetables, how many servings of fruits and vegetables you need, recipes, and tips for adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet. As summer comes to an end and fall begins, visit your local farm stand for a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. And ENJOY!

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