Fitness Challenge Nutrition Tip #2: Eat Low on the Food Chain

Eating low on the food chain basically means eat lots of fruits and vegetables. This has many benefits:

  • It helps to lower blood pressure.
  • It reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, and some cancers.
  • It lowers the risk of eye and digestive problems.
  • It helps maintain healthy levels of blood sugar that can help keep your appetite in check.

This week’s challenge is about eating the appropriate amount of fresh fruits and vegetables that your body needs for optimum health. Nutritionists agree that to stay healthy a person should have a minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Nine servings are considered optimal for most people. One serving size is approximately ½ cup. Most people have an easier time with fruit than they do vegetables, but it’s important to include vegetables because they are extremely high in vitamins and minerals and they are generally low in calories. Although fruits also tend to be high in vitamins and minerals, they are higher in sugar.  It’s almost impossible to eat too many vegetables, but this is not the case with fruit. For this reason, we recommend a two to one ratio of vegetables to fruit.

Despite what you might see in commercials, fruit juice,V8, and other drinks made from fruits and vegetables aren’t nearly as healthy for you as the real thing. It’s much better to eat fresh fruits and vegetables.  Here are some reasons why:

  • One 8 ounce glass of orange juice has well over 100 calories in it. It takes about two and a half oranges to make up that many calories.
  • You don’t get the other benefits the actual Orange has to offer like roughage and the additional vitamins and minerals contained in the roughage.
  • The actual fruit will make you full so you are less likely to overeat.

Here is this week’s challenge: Eat a minimum of five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables every day, with at least three of the servings coming from vegetables. Drinks do not count in this challenge. It has to be the real thing. Fresh or frozen is always better than canned or overcooked. Good luck!