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Fruits and vegetables at a Marine Corps Healthy Barbecue Cooking Class in San Diego, CA. Photo by Lance Cpl. Eric Quintanilla/released
By LCDR Amit Sood, Clinical Dietitian and Department Head of Nutrition Management, Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton
Most people are aware that eating a variety of fruits and vegetables provides them with essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients that aren’t found in other foods. In addition to supporting weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight, consuming the recommended number of servings of fruits and vegetables daily also helps decrease the risk of diseases such as stroke, cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes and certain types of cancers.1 However, did you know that eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day may also prolong your life? A new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that incorporating these important foods into your diet may also help you live longer.2
It may be overwhelming to think about eating five fruits and vegetables every day, so to start, I recommend setting a goal of having at least one piece of fruit or vegetable serving at every meal. One of the easiest ways to do this is at lunch or dinnertime. Begin with a vegetable course, such as a salad, then eat the main entrée, and end with fruit for dessert or as part of the dessert.
No More Excuses: Common Myths Busted
There are many misconceptions that prevent Sailors, Marines and military families from getting the daily recommended intake of fruits and vegetables. The following addresses some of the most common:
To learn more about ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet, please visit the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center’s Health Promotion and Wellness Toolbox website. For tasty fruit and veggies recipes, check out www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/ and www.choosemyplate.gov.
LCDR Amit Sood has been a clinical dietitian with the Navy since 2004, has a Master’s Degree in Dietetics from Kansas State University, and is a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. He has given more than 500 nutrition classes and lectures to more than 50 commands worldwide, and served as the sole military dietitian during his time at U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka, Japan and his deployment to Kuwait during Operation Iraqi Freedom. As of October 2013, LCDR Sood has assumed the position as Program Manager/Executive Agent of Navy Nutrition programs, OPNAV N17.
1. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Fruits and Vegetables. http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/fruitsvegetables/index.html. Updated June 18, 2012. Accessed July 22, 2013.
2. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Fruit and vegetable consumption and all-cause mortality: a dose-response analysis. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/98/2/454.abstract. August 2013. Accessed August 16, 2013.
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