Most Americans aren’t getting enough of these

Most Americans aren’t getting enough of these

 Fruits and vegetables are good for you. Common sense, right? But why are they so good for you?

Part of the reason is a large class of nutrients found in plant foods, called flavonoids, according to new research published in the journal Nature. These nutrients may reduce the risk for cancer and cardiovascular death. The benefits were strongest when participants consumed about 500 milligrams of flavonoids a day, an amount consistent with a diet high in fruits and vegetables.

The trouble is, most Americans aren’t consuming enough. Estimates from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that U.S. adults average between 200 and 250 milligrams of flavonoids per day.

To increase your intake, consider incorporating more high-flavonoid foods like citrus fruit, red berries, broccoli and apples into your daily diet. Other plant foods like tea, chocolate and red wine are also good sources of flavonoids.

Flavonoids alone won’t ensure a healthy ticker, though.

“Maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI) is critical for heart health and can reduce instances of cardiovascular disease by more than 40%,” says Dr. Sunil Kadakia, a cardiologist at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill.

BMI is one way to determine a healthy weight and is calculated using your weight and height. A healthy BMI is considered to be between 19-25, while a BMI of over 30 is considered obese. You can click here for a quick assessment to learn the weight range that’s considered healthy for you.

In addition to maintaining a healthy weight and eating more fruits and vegetables, Dr. Kadakia suggests getting more exercise, cutting out tobacco and getting a good night’s rest.

“What surprises most patients is that if you make these lifestyle changes, you can reduce the risk of a cardiovascular event by 87%,” he says.

Want to learn more about your risk for heart disease? Take a free, quick online assessment by clicking here.

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  1. Gloria Picchetti October 25, 2019 at 12:22 pm · Reply

    I agree with the need for fruit and vegetables in our diets. I have a trick to help make it happen better. I keep some things in the freezer so I can cook when I don’t feel like it. I put chopped garlic bulbs in little containers I found at the dollar store. There are always containers of chopped celery and chopped onions in the freezer too.
    I keep frozen grapes in the freezer also. I have these great containers from my favorite gelato I use them. Believe me when I forgot to by fresh fruit or have a sweet craving I always have my frozen grapes. They taste like candy!

  2. Fruits are overrated. Too much sugar.

  3. Gloria: thanks for the great tip! For me, it’s hard keeping up with vegetables in the fridge because I don’t always commit to using them after they’re purchased, and they end up going bad. I like the idea of prepping into portions and popping them into the fridge. The fresh fruit idea is great too; definitely a healthier sugar than some of the other things I choose to consume.

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About the Author

Kristen Johnson
Kristen Johnson

Kristen Johnson, health enews contributor, is a public affairs and marketing manager with Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She previously worked as a speechwriter and staffer on Capitol Hill. She enjoys running marathons, good coffee and exploring Chicago’s many neighborhoods.