15 Apr When is Organic produce recommended?
It’s hard to believe Spring is here given the snow we had last week in New Jersey, but hopefully that is finally behind us. I love seeing the new buds and sprouts peeking out of the garden and local seasonal vegetables appearing at the markets. Vegetables and fruits provide vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants that boost our immune system and help protect us from disease – from the common cold to chronic disease like type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, obesity and even cancer. Did you know that 8-11 servings of vegetables and fruit are recommended each day to help prevent disease? The average American struggles to take in 2-3 servings each day – and the most common vegetable we eat is potatoes! (Yes, French fries are included here, which I don’t consider a ‘health food’!) A typical vegetable serving is 1 cup of cooked vegetables or 2 cups of leafy greens. When choosing your produce, strive to eat across the rainbow with colorful vegetables and fruits since each color group contains different phytonutrients. The typical American breakfast of a bagel, ready to eat cereal and eggs, doesn’t provide much color early in the day. Add some berries or even have a spinach and mixed berry smoothie for breakfast, which adds 3 different colors & phytonutrients to your morning? Click here for some smoothie recipes.
If you are watching your budget, the following handout ‘The Dirty Dozen/Clean 15’ indicates when you should try and buy organic produce. The produce on the Dirty Dozen list has the highest pesticide exposure and residue, which has been linked to cancer. The Clean 15 lists produce that has the least pesticide exposure, so organic is not necessary. Don’t forget frozen vegetables are a great, less expensive option for nutrient rich fruits and veggies, particularly organics and they are great in smoothies!
My challenge to you this month is to add 1 serving of vegetables to both lunch and dinner each day. Try to choose at least 2 different colors. This can be as easy as adding a salad with lunch and a side of steamed vegetables drizzled with olive oil for dinner. You might even find the extra vegetables ‘crowd out’ some of the less healthful, processed foods!
If you want to get ready for summer and need support to incorporate more healthy habits, please join me for my guided Healthy Eating Challenge, which begins on April 23rd. Sign-up by April 18th to save $30. Click here to see testimonials from past participants!
Here’s to incorporating more vegetables each day!