Fruits and Veggies Today Lead to Healthier Hearts Tomorrow

Lady holding a salad

We know that eating lots of fruits and vegetables is healthy for you, but now a new study reinforces the importance of developing good eating habits early in life can help protect the heart from disease decades later.

According to research in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, young adults who ate five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day were less likely to develop calcified coronary artery plaque, or clogged arteries, 20 years later. Plaque build up can cause arteries to narrow and block blood flow, or break off and travel to other parts of the body, which is a common cause of heart attack or stroke.

The Right Mix: Diet and Exercise

Eating the right mix of fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and dairy, along with at least 60 minutes of daily activity, is important for our younger generation to stay healthy now and into the future.

The USDA provides recommendations and a great guide that can be printed out to track daily servings by age group and calorie level at MyPlate Daily Checklist. In the 14+ age group and for a 1600 calorie diet, 1 1/2 cups of whole fruits and 2 cups of veggies are recommended daily.

6 Easy Ways to Add Fruits and Vegetables to Your Diet

Keep fruits and vegetables on hand and within easy reach so when you are hungry you will be less tempted to grab a high calorie and less nutritious snack such as chips, crackers and cheese. Here are a few suggestions on how to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your daily diet:

  • Adding fruit, fresh, frozen, canned or dried, to your cereal and yogurt;
  • Top your toast with peanut butter and sliced bananas;
  • Add vegetables (tomatoes, onions, red or green peppers, mushrooms) to your omelet;
  • Eat a variety of fruit, such as an apple, pear, orange, plum, or raisins, or raw vegetables, such as carrots, celery and broccoli for a mid-morning, afternoon or evening snack;
  • Choose a large salad rather than a sandwich for lunch;
  • Remember to make fruits and vegetables about half of your lunch or dinner plate. Serve 2 vegetables with dinner and eat fruit for dessert.
author name

Mrinalini Meesala, MD

Mrinalini Meesala, MD, FACC, RPVI is a non-invasive cardiologist with The Heart Group. Dr. Meesala has special interest include women’s heart health, and is board-certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease, echocardiography, and nuclear cardiology.

Education: Medical School—Osmania Medical College; Internship and residency—Drexel University College of Medicine; Fellowship—Hahnemann University/Drexel University

Call: 717-544-8300

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.

 

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