The first day of Summer is just days away, and with access to fresh produce in the Garden State, we are ready to celebrate National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable month this June. Fresh, filling and heart-healthy, fruits and vegetables are an important part of your overall healthy diet. They are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber and low in fat and calories.
The American Heart Association encourages Americans to add color to their meals throughout the month as part of their Healthy For Good™ movement. The movement is designed to inspire lasting change through small, simple steps in four key areas: Eat smart. Add color. Move more. Be well. Try adding a little extra color to every meal and snack throughout your day to ensure you are getting enough fruits and vegetables in your diet. These changes can not only help you lead a healthier lifestyle, but also a longer life! It can reduce the risk of premature death, heart disease, stroke, multiple forms of cancer, and conditions like diabetes and hypertension which are linked to lower quality of life. Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption alone can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 20 percent.
Not sure where to start? The American Heart Association recommends 4 servings of fruit and 5 servings of vegetables each day. This can be as simple as adding fruit to your breakfast or replacing carbohydrates such as pasta and rice, with your favorite vegetables. Try adding a new fruit or vegetable to every meal to expand your taste and to try new foods. There are also a number of local farmer’s markets that offer a great variety to choose from and are filled with your favorite Summer produce. It can be a fun experience or even a challenge that is good for your overall heart and brain health.
Adding color can be fun and a great way to explore new cooking techniques and tasty meals! For free tips, recipes and resources, visit www.heart.org/FruitVegetableMonth or www.heart.org/HealthyForGood.
For free heart healthy recipes and cooking videos, visit www.heart.org/recipes.