For National Nutrition Month, focus on fruit and vegetable variety

Say it again, V-A-R-I-E-T-Y. It’s the variety—not just the quantity of servings—of different colored fruit and vegetables eaten daily that is associated with the greatest health benefits. However, one need only visit the nearest mega-sized supermarket to notice what kinds of foods fill the average American grocery store cart at the expense of fruits and vegetables: processed, empty-calorie foods alongside sweetened and/or alcoholic beverages.

As you’ve probably heard, March is National Nutrition Month, making it a great time to highlight once again two recommendations that topped the list for “Foods and Nutrients to Increase” in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans:

  • “Increase vegetable and fruit intake.”
  • “Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark-green and red and orange vegetables and beans and peas.”

This month, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is campaigning to “Get Your Plate in Shape”. That is, the message is to make every American plate look more like MyPlate, half of which is fruits and vegetables. How many servings on half a plate? The old message was at least five or more. Now, with the new Guidelines, the message has changed: It’s not necessarily quantity that should be guiding choices, but variety.That’s because the latest research shows that those who eat the highest amount of different colored fruits and vegetables are most likely to reap the rewards of cardiovascular health and a long, zest-filled life.

However, regardless of their health-promoting properties, the number of U.S. adults  actually eating five or more fruit and vegetable servings daily is about one in four. Among teens, the statistics are also dismal: the average high-school student eats 1.2 servings a day; one in four eat less than 1 fruit a day; and one in three eat less than 1 vegetable (besides potatoes) a day.

The best place where shoppers can start “getting their plates in shape” is at the supermarket—by, first, ditching the “junk” (high in sodium, added solid fats, and added sugars) that research shows tends to replace fruits and vegetables in grocery carts. Switching to high-nutrient, lower-calorie fruits and vegetables is not only good for the health of consumers, but also good for their figures.

Isagenix can also make it easier to stay on track with IsaFruits and Greens! These convenient drink mixes complement healthy eating with the antioxidant equivalent of eating 20 servings of fruits and vegetables. What’s more, the drinks are made up of all-natural whole-food powders representing a large variety of fruits and vegetables. Lastly, they are great low-calorie, low-sugar alternatives to high-sugar beverages such as typical sodas and juices.