More fruits and vegetables can improve health

More fruits and vegetables can improve health
Infographic depicting the variety of fruits and vegetables to help you Eat More Color.  Credit: American Heart Association

Recent estimates show about 10 percent or fewer U.S. adults and children get the recommended 4.5 cups of total fruits and vegetables per day. The American Heart Association, the world's leading voluntary organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke, continues its efforts to change attitudes and behaviors about nutrition during its first-ever Healthy for Good Movement campaign supporting National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month in June.

"The Healthy For Good movement is designed to equip and empower individuals to take small steps today to make a big difference tomorrow," said Annessa Chumbley, registered dietitian and American Heart Association spokesperson. "Regardless of where you are in your health and wellness journey, Healthy For Good can inspire and motivate you with simple and creative snacking options or 'better-for-you versions' of your favorite meals."

During the month of June, Healthy For Good and its national recipe host, Fresh Avocados – Love One Today, will share more than 20 new, fun and easy recipes via .org/recipes, as well as a variety of tips and materials on Healthy for Good's Facebook and Twitter channels. Recipes will showcase how to add more healthy vegetables and like fresh avocados to reduce bad fats and lower daily cholesterol and sodium intake. Additional resources, including a new Cooking in Color booklet with an array of smart options, are available at shopheart.org.

Currently, less than 1 percent of Americans meet the American Heart Association's definition of ideal cardiovascular health, due primarily to . In fact, poor diet was the single leading contributor to premature death in the United States in 2010. Today, nearly two in three American adults and one in three American children are overweight or obese.

Dietary habits contribute to multiple cardiovascular risk factors including blood cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure. At the same time, fruits and vegetables are an important part of a heart healthy dietary pattern. A recent review concluded that increasing the portions of fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

For a 2,000 calorie diet, the American Heart Association recommends 2 cups of fruits and 2.5 cups of vegetables each day. The average American adult consumes around 1 to 1.5 cups of each daily. The Union of Concerned Scientists estimated that if Americans ate just one more serving of fruits or vegetables per day, more than 30,000 lives could be saved.


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