We’ve been told all our lives that eating regular fruits and vegetables will make us stronger and live longer. Well, that advice is more accurate than we used to think! According to a recent study conducted at Imperial College London, eating more fruits and vegetables reduces chances of heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular disease. This is big news for seniors and the family caregiver hoping to maintain their loved one’s health through nutrition.
Benefits Of Eating More Fruits and Veggies
The recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables used to be five portions per day. What this study found was doubling that intake, up to ten portions, showed significant increase in health benefits. A portion is defined as 80g of food, roughly the equivalent of a small pear or apple for fruit and three “heaped” tablespoons of spinach or peas for vegetables.
With these portions, researchers found consuming 800g of fruits and vegetables led to a 24% reduced risk of heart disease compared to those who ate none. Further, there was a 33% reduction in stroke risk and a 28% drop in cardiovascular disease risk. In fact, even just eating two and a half portions regularly showed remarkable drop in health risks than not eating fruits and vegetables at all.
The Best Fruits And Vegetables To Eat
The kind of fruits and vegetables consumed also played a major part in the effective benefits. Apples, pears, and citrus fruits were most effective at preventing heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. For vegetables, the most benefit was seen from green leafy varieties like spinach and lettuce and cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower.
The team plans to study more into a wider variety of foods that could hold these wonderful new advantages. What is clear, according to Dr. Dagfinn Aune, the lead author of the research, is “…a high intake of fruit and vegetables hold tremendous health benefits, and we should try to increase their intake in our diet.”
Increasing Intake For Seniors (And Family Caregivers)
It’s one thing to know eating more fruits and veggies is good for you, it’s another to actually do it. If your loved one (or yourself) wasn’t keen on eating these foods before, it may be difficult to get them started now. Here are a few tips to try making this important diet change easier. (Note: It’s important to always discuss any change in diet with a primary care doctor first.)
- Add fruits and vegetables to already favored foods. This can be as simple as adding them as toppings on a pizza or stirring in some fruits into oatmeal or pancakes.
- Try smoothies. Smoothies are easier to drink and both fruits and veggies can be combined together. Look online for recipes that make this a tasty treat.
- Replace salty and sugary snacks. Try fruit salads or leafy green salads with low-fat dressing. Leave apples and pears within easy sight and reach. Sugar-free applesauce is another easy and convenient option.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Durham, NC or the surrounding areas, please contact the friendly staff at HomeChoice Home Care Services. Call today (919) 847-5622