Skill Introduction – Eat More Fruits & Vegetables
You know you need to eat more fruits and vegetables, but do you know how important it really is? The World Health Organization estimates that a low fruit and vegetable intake is to blame for 1.7 million deaths worldwide (1). In fact, low fruit and vegetable intake is listed as one of the top 10 risk factors for global mortality (1). Now, that is hard to ignore. Here are a few more statistics that are begging for attention:
- A low fruit and vegetable intake may account for 14% of deaths caused by gastrointestinal cancer, 11% of deaths from ischemic heart disease and 9% of deaths caused by strokes (1).
- Only 1 in 10 adults eat the recommended 1 ½ – 2 cups fruit and 2-3 cups vegetables each day (2).
- A few reasons we may skimp on fruit and vegetable intake is because of their perceived high cost, limited availability and access and lack of time to prepare food (3).
You may have heard, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” “eat your carrots if you want to see in the dark,” and “onions help you breathe better.” Okay, the last one might be new to you, but there is some truth to all of these statements. After all, you are what you eat and the food you eat provides the building blocks for your body to keep going. Fruits and vegetables contain a plethora of nutrients and other compounds that are essential to your body’s daily processes, and that is why not eating them can contribute to an early death.
For example, let’s talk about magnesium. This micro-mineral is found in legumes, artichoke hearts, okra, butternut squash and nuts, and plays a role in 300 enzymatic reactions. Enzymes are vital for life and are responsible for speeding up almost all of the chemical reactions within a cell. By playing a role in 300 enzymatic reactions, you can see that magnesium is a heavy hitter, yet, it is estimated that 80% of us are deficient in magnesium. Some of the reactions that magnesium plays a role in are important for nerve and muscle function, immune health, consistent heartbeat, bone health, blood sugar regulation, and energy production. This clearly shows us how swiping left on fruits and vegetables is ruining our health.
To help you succeed in this skill, the Zero 2 Healthy Human challenges will guide you and your tribe step-by-step from eating few to no fruits and vegetables each day to becoming a fruit and vegetable consuming master at 4+ cups fruits and vegetables per day.
Hungry for more? Check out this resource:
- Fruits & Veggies More Matters, Key Nutrients In Fruits and Vegetables lists which fruits and vegetables are good sources of specific nutrients, and why those nutrients are important: https://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/key-nutrients-in-fruits-and-vegetables.
- World Health Organization, promoting fruit and vegetable consumption around the world, Accessed October 26th, 2018 <http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/fruit/en/index2.html>.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2017, Only 1 in 10 adults get enough fruits and vegetables, Accessed October 26th, 2018 <https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p1116-fruit-vegetable-consumption.html>.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2017, Morbidity & mortality weekly report: disparities in state specific adult fruit and vegetable consumption – United States 2015, Accessed October 26th, 2018 < https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/mm6645a1.htm>.