The Problem: Not enough fruits & veggies
Research shows how you eat can affect long term health –no surprise there. It can make a difference not just in the way you feel every day but can help prevent your DNA from getting worn out! Evidence from epidemiological studies and laboratory studies indicates that dietary factors are important in the causation of cancer at many sites. Extensive studies have concluded that diets high in fat, low in fiber and/or low in fruits and vegetables are associated with an increase incidence of mortality from various cancers.
Diets with a higher intake of plant foods, especially yellow and green vegetables and citrus fruits is associated with reduced risk of several cancers, notably cancer of the stomach, pancreas, colon, rectum, bladder, endometrial, cervix and ovary. So how is America doing on eating foods to prevent cancer? And what can we do differently to improve our diets.
• Fewer than 1 in 10 Americans meet fruit or vegetable intake recommendations.
• One quarter of all vegetables consumed by children and adolescents are French fries.
• Kid’s intakes of all fruits and of dark green and/or deep yellow vegetables are very low compared with recommendations.
• Fewer than 10% of 1- to 2- year-olds consume a dark green vegetable a day –green foods are important for eye health and often contain folate acid which is good for your heart.
• Only one in five children eats five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
• Beta-carotene in sweet potatoes, pumpkins and carrots is converted to vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy mucous membranes and healthy eyes.
• Scientists have also reported that carotenoid-rich foods can help reduce risk of cancer, heart disease and can improve immune system function.
How to fix it!
Creating a colorful fruit smoothie or having your child find a new dark green or deep yellow fruit or vegetable they haven’t tied yet are 2 ways to have new food adventures. Find fun ways to expose children to a variety of fruits and vegetables at an early age. Try our vegetable logic puzzle with your school aged child. See fun eating tips below:
• In our house, broccoli is called dinosaur trees and tomato sauce used as dip becomes swamp sauce.
• Cauliflower’s name ranges from snow clouds to Santa puffs.
• Our spaghetti often comes from spaghetti squash, a deep yellow food packed with nutrients which kids love because it can be played with just like spaghetti.
• Yellow peppers also make a great snack and in the summer are fairly easy to grow in a wooden whiskey barrel, a deep pot or in the ground. Grow, eat and enjoy!