We all know that eating more fruits and vegetables is part of a healthy diet. Research now shows that these healthy foods also appear to decrease our risk of heart disease by actually modifying our genetic code.(1) A comprehensive diet and gene heart study published October 2011 in PLoS Medicine recently concluded that people with high-risk gene mutations who ate at least two servings of raw fruits ,vegetables and berries each day had a similar risk of heart disease as those with low-risk versions of the gene.
“Our research suggests there may be an important interplay between genes and diet in cardiovascular disease. Future research is necessary to understand the mechanism of this interaction, which will shed light on the underlying metabolic processes that the 9p21 gene is involved in.” Lead author, Dr. Ron Do
10 Easy Ways to Add More Fruits and Vegetables to Your Diet
Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet is easy with a little planning. Here are 10 tips I use every day that help my whole family eat better:
- Add whole fruit or berries to your breakfast. A handful of blueberries or strawberries is great over breakfast oatmeal, quinoa, or yogurt.
- Stuff an omelet with vegetables. Adding peppers, onions, tomatoes, and other veggies turns eggs into a complete meal.
- Add some variety to your morning smoothie. Use your favorite meal replacement shake as the base and add fresh or frozen berries, mixed fruit, or banana. Check out some Heart Smart Smoothie recipes.
- Place a bowl of colorful fruit where everyone can easily grab something for a snack on the run. I keep bowls of apples, oranges and bananas on the kitchen counter. You’d be amazed how quickly that fruit disappears.
- Keep cut vegetables handy for mid-afternoon snacks, side-dishes, lunch box additions, or a quick nibble while waiting for dinner. Ready-to-eat favorites: red, green or yellow peppers, broccoli or cauliflower florets, carrots, celery sticks, cucumbers, snap peas or while radishes.
- Exchange cut veggies and hummus for that chips and dip.
- Add color to your salads: Berries and mandarin orange slices are great, as are grape tomatoes and carrot slices. Be inventive!
- Add vegetables to your sandwiches. Ripe avocado makes a yummy spread instead of mayonnaise, and sliced pineapple, apple, peppers, cucumber and tomato add both crunch and flavor.
- Make salad a main dish of dark, leafy greens and other colorful vegetables. Add chickpeas or edamame (fresh soybeans) for protein. Squeeze fresh lemon wedges on the salad for a quick, low calorie dressing.
- Grill colorful veggie kabobs with tomatoes, green and red peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Perfect as the weather gets a bit warmer this spring and summer.
Do you eat 5 or more more fruits and vegetables everyday? Share some tips that you use to increase the number of servings of these colorful and flavorful foods. I’ll pass your tips on to my readers. :~)