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July 2014

Healthy Vegetables are Always in Season

We all know that vegetables are good for us.  In fact, scores of studies have linked produce intake with an array of health benefits.  However, studies also reveal that only 6% of Americans meet the daily target for vegetables!       

Vegetables -  Health in Every Bite
Vegetables may reduce the risk of chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, some types of cancer, cognitive decline, high blood pressure and inflammation.

In part, these health benefits are from phytonutrients, which are natural plant compounds in vegetables that provide powerful antioxidants.  There are thousands of these compounds with different health benefits.

Each color range of produce contains different phytonutrients.  Therefore, it is important to have a variety of colorful produce for optimum benefits.  The more colorful your plate, the healthier it is!

Seasonal Selections
Each season brings a fresh chance to discover new vegetables and rediscover old favorites.  Keep seasonal selections and color in mind.  Eating with the seasons can support local farming.  It also provides the opportunity to enjoy vegetables that are at their peak quality, flavor and freshness.

When picking vegetables, ripeness does matter.  The riper produce tends to be richer in nutrients.

How Many Vegetables Do You Need Each Day?
Both men and women aged 51+ should have *2 half cups of vegetables daily.
  
*1 cup of vegetables = 1 cup raw, cooked, frozen or 2 cups of raw leafy greens.
  
Meeting your daily target for vegetables allows your body to function at its best.

Tips To Meet Your Daily Vegetable Goal

  • Strive for vegetables at lunch & dinner; make half of your plate vegetables.
  • Buy produce in season for better taste, variety and price.
  • Add more vegetables to your salad including cucumbers, tomatoes, or mushrooms.
  • Keep raw vegetables cut up in your refrigerator and ready to eat.  For an easy dip mix plain NF Greek yogurt & salsa.
  • For variety try coleslaw, broccoli slaw or even tomato salad.
  • If you enjoy soups and stews, add vegetables! (Use low sodium soup/stock.)
  • Keep frozen vegetables on hand to ensure vegetables are available.
  • If canned vegetables are used, they should be low sodium.

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