Fruits, Veggies, and Other Goodies

 

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It seems like these days, healthy eating has become such a multi-billion-dollar industry that everyone knows what it’s like to get bombarded by ‘The New Health Food!’ ads for Acai whatnot and Goji Berry thingamajig. It’s an unfortunate aspect of our pharmaceutical culture that we’ve learned to look for cures for specific ills, and we treat food the same way. Cranberries for UTIs, carrots for vision problems, prunes for constipation…we’re treating food like it’s medicine, and it’s failing us. We need a new health food regimen.

It’s true that Hippocrates said “Make food your medicine and medicine your food”, but that’s not what he meant. By eating right in general — every day — we prevent far more illnesses than we could ever hope to treat. The point is not to respond to conditions by seeking a super food, it’s to prevent conditions by getting proper nutrition.

Consume a sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables while staying within energy needs. Two cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables per day are recommended for a reference 2,000-calorie intake, with higher or lower amounts depending on the calorie level.

Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables each day. In particular, select from all five vegetable subgroups (dark green, orange, legumes, starchy vegetables, and other vegetables) several times a week.

Consume 3 or more ounce-equivalents of whole-grain products per day, with the rest of the recommended grains coming from enriched or whole-grain products. In general, at least half the grains should come from whole grains.

Consume 3 cups per day of fat-free or low-fat milk or equivalent milk products.