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Monday Motivator: Eat your fruits and veggies

The nutrients found in fruits and veggies may reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease, and diabetes. It is recommended to eat at least 3 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit per day.

A pile of numerous vegetables.
Colorful vegetables.
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The Crow Wing County Community Health Survey found that almost 2 out of 3 adults (61.7%) in Crow Wing County are still not eating the recommended five or more vegetables and fruits a day.

Graphic showing a chart of a balanced diet.
A chart for a healthy diet.
Contributed / MyPlate.gov

The previous surveys conducted in 2014 and 2017 revealed 66% and 65.7% respectively so we have made some improvements over the past six years. Why does it matter? You will enjoy a healthier and longer life. The nutrients found in fruits and veggies may reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease, and diabetes. It is recommended to eat at least 3 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit per day. University of Minnesota Extension SNAP Education shares the following tips on healthy choices.

Fruits

Fruits are naturally sweet treats that provide your body with many health benefits including reduced risk of certain diseases like heart disease and cancer. All fruits including fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100% juice count as choices in the fruits group.

Best choices include:

  • Buy fresh fruits when they are in season.  Not only will you save money, the fruit will likely taste better too!
  • Select fruits canned in 100% juice or water, rather than syrup, which adds sugar.
  • Choose whole or cut-up fruits more often than 100% fruit juice.  Fruit juice can count toward daily fruit requirements, but is missing the benefits of fiber found in the whole fruit.
  • Consider convenience by purchasing pre-cut packages of fruit, frozen fruits without added sugar, and dried fruits.

Vegetables

An assortment of vegetables.
An assortment of vegetables.
Contributed

The colors of vegetables each provide a broad range of nutrients that keep your body strong and healthy. Eat a rainbow of different colored veggies every day!
Vegetables are divided into five different subgroups based on similar nutrients:

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  • Dark green — broccoli, bok choy, kale, spinach, collard greens and leaf lettuce.
  • Starchy — corn, green peas and potatoes. 
  • Red and orange — carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, winter squash, tomatoes and red peppers. 
  • Beans and peas — black beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, pinto beans, soy beans and split peas. 
  • Other — Asparagus, avocado, beets, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, eggplant, green beans, mushrooms, onions and zucchini. 

Notable nutrients

Vitamin C is important for growth and repair of body tissues, helps heal cuts and wounds and boosts your immune system.

Potassium keeps your muscles and nervous system working by keeping the right amount of water in your cells and body fluids.

Dietary fiber helps you feel full, aids in digestion and helps remove waste.

Folate helps your body form new red blood cells and is an important nutrient for pregnant women to prevent neural tube defects.

Vitamin A aids in keeping your eyes strong and skin healthy.

Try adding a variety of fruits and vegetables to your day. Eat a rainbow of different colors; each color is associated with a different health benefit.

Crow Wing Energized is focused on making the healthy choice the easy choice. To learn more, visit www.crowwingenergized.org .  

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