Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fresh and local produce

Buying fresh, local produce is an excellent, smart way to obtain healthy fruits and vegetables that benefit your health and your bank account.  The key to stretching your dollar is to purchase fruits and veggies that are on sale or in season, as these are often sold at very reasonable, lower prices. With the weather warming up, soon it will be time to go to a local farmers market, as this produce is fresh, local, in season and most of the time, budget-friendly.

Red fruits and veggies contain lycopene, the major antioxidant found in red fruits and vegetables.  This nutrient is linked to fighting heart disease and some cancer.

Orange/Yellow fruits and veggies contain beta carotene that is a potent carotenoid that's converted to Vitamin A in the body.  It is associated with protecting the eyes as well as playing a role in the body's immune response.

Green fruits and veggies are rich in antioxidants, promoting vision, cell growth, and amino acid metabolism.

Blue/purple fruits and veggies have powerful anti-aging benefits.  For example, blueberries and prunes provide antioxidants that help with memory and reduced cancer risk. Eating the skin of the prunes adds fiber to your diet to help with weight maintenance, bowel regularity and insulin sensitivity.

Last but not least is white/tan fruits and veggies.  They play a role in improving heart health and reducing cancer risks!

So, start eating the the rainbow everyday! About 2 cups of fruit per day and 2.5 cups of veggies per day is the recommended serving size (MyPyramid). 

What counts as 1 cup of fruit?  1 cup applesauce, 1 cup diced cantaloupe, 1 large orange, 1 small apple, 1 large banana, to name a few.

What counts as 1 cup of veggies? 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw leafy greens.

Have a happy and healthy day!

"The greatest wealth is health."

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