September is Fruit and Vegetable month! This is a great time of year to find a wide variety of produce at farmer's markets and grocery stores. Increasing your fruit and vegetable intake doesn't have to be difficult, and it's worth it due to the many disease-preventing virtues.
Fruits and vegetables provide vitamins and minerals necessary for immune function, growth, vision, healing, skin and oral health, as well as for muscle and nerve function. Each color of fruits and vegetables features its own disease-fighting attribute.

There are several easy ways to increase fruit and vegetable intake in both kids and adults. Sometimes the method of preparation can make all the difference. Veggies can be included into some dishes that don't necessarily call for it, such as egg dishes, dips, rice dishes (just add them in the rice cooker), over potatoes, or into stir-fry. Veggies can also stand alone! They can be marinated and grilled, or seasoned and steamed. Fruits can be added to nonfat frozen yogurt for a yummy dessert, or added to hot cereals for a boost of nutrients at breakfast. You can toss them with salads, or blend them into smoothies. When you increase fruit and vegetable choices, you will most likely decrease other snack foods or starchy sides, which can be beneficial for those looking to cut calories.

Many Families are short on spare time, but this is no barrier to increasing fruit and vegetable intake. You can purchase frozen veggies that are ready to microwave, or pre-cut and pre-washed snacks. To save money, you can peel and cube fruits and veggies the day you buy them and keep readily available for snack attacks, and don't forget to involve your children in the preparation process.

Fruits and vegetables feature a high level of antioxidants, important for preventing cancer. Antioxidants work by neutralizing free radicals obtained from the environment, and in this way they also decrease the signs of aging.

By neutralizing free radicals, antioxidants can help prevent cancer, making fruits and vegetables even more important with cancer on the rise. Magnesium and Potassium found in your produce are necessary for healthy and regular heart and muscle function. Vitamins A and C improve immune function and promote healthy vision, oral health, skin, and healing. The folate found in some types of peas is important for women of child-bearing age. This is because folate prevents neural tube defects during pregnancy. Folate is especially needed in the body during the very first few weeks of pregnancy. Often, this nutrient is needed during the time before a pregnancy is detected.

Fruits and vegetables have super disease-fighting attributes. Consuming more fruits and vegetables will decrease your risk for developing some of the most prevalent diseases in the United States. Eating enough fruits and vegetables each day (about five cups or more), can reduce your risk of heart disease by 20 to 40 percent.

Also, improved intake of produce can reduce the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, and can help people with diabetes manage it by aiding with weight loss and blood sugar levels. Many individuals struggle with hypertension, or high blood pressure. Studies show that increasing fruit and vegetable consumption can improve blood pressure. Strokes kill 24 percent of the 700,000 individuals that have them.

Research has shown us that increasing fruit and veggie intake can decrease the chances of developing a stroke and increase your likelihood to survive a stroke. Green leafy veggies, cruciferous veggies (such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower), and citrus fruits contribute to stroke prevention.

Fresh, canned, or frozen fruits and vegetables provide dietary fiber, important for satiety and colon health. Increasing fiber is a great method of weight loss as it helps you feel more satisfied and full after eating. You can eat large volumes of fruits and vegetables for very few calories, and provide quite a delicious snack!

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16