It’s harvest season and the vegetable options are off the hook! Did you know that just 1 in 10 adults in the US population are getting enough fruits and veggies in their diet according to the CDC (1)?
This poses a problem because various studies link a low intake of fruits and vegetables with chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, many cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, other respiratory problems and mental health issues (2). I recommend that we all eat a rainbow of phytonutrients to support good health.
6 Ways to Increase Your Intake of Phytonutrients
Aim for 9-13 Servings of Plants Daily
A typical serving is only ½ cup of cooked veggies, one cup of raw leafy veggies or a piece of fruit. Make your requirement by having 3-4 servings of plant foods at every meal.
Know Where Your Phytonutrients Come From
These include: fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and even herbs and spices.
Eat the Rainbow
Make a goal to get the full 7 colors every day with a variety of foods. Try to hitROY G. BIV by adding the following foods to your meals: Raspberries, orange peppers, summer squashes, celery, olives, and legumes.
Try New Foods
We tend to get comfortable eating the same foods. Explore your produce section and try a new food every week. Don’t miss out on the thousands of phytonutrient possibilities.
Maximize Phytonutrient Combinations
Putting foods together can create a “synergistic” result. This helps because it achieves a better effect than if we eat foods alone. For example, add lemon to spinach to enhance iron absorption.
Think of foods that you commonly eat that may lack nutrients and replace this with a more nutrient-dense option. For example, you could substitute mashed potatoes with mashed purple potatoes or sweet potatoes.