Over the weekend, ten of my co-workers and I visited with a nutritionist at one of our local grocery stores. I’ve been really impressed that Martin’s Foods has a full-time nutritionist in six of their stores.
The goal in our meeting with Lisa was to help us find easy ways to stick to the Full Plate Diet, which encourages participants to eat at least 40 grams of fiber per day. According to the American Heart Association, the average American gets less than 15 grams per day. She gave us so much great information that I’m sharing it with you over a couple of days. Today, I’m focusing on fruits and vegetables.
Our nutritionist had a grocery cart worth of items to talk with us about. Introducing a wide range of items, from steel-cut oatmeal to fiber rich tortillas, Lisa made her presentation engaging and enjoyable. She helped us understand that, while 40 grams of fiber sounds like a lot, getting that amount is actually pretty easy and the health benefits are great.
She encouraged us to have some type of fruit or vegetable at every meal. Our goal should be at least nine servings. She gave us a handout entitled,
Eat A Rainbow of Fruits and Vegetables, which highlighted the benefits of mixing things up:
Blue/Purple: This group contains plant pigments called anthocyanins. These are powerful antioxidants that are linked to improved memory function, urinary tract health, and healthy aging. Foods from this group include blackberries and eggplant.
Green; The green color of this group comes from chlorophyll. This pigment contains the mineral magnesium. Some greens also provide lutein, beta-carotene, folate, vitamin K, calcium and other compounds that promote vision and eye health, strong bones and teeth, and heart health. Foods from this group include honeydew melons and green beans.
Red: Lycopene, beta-carotene, and anthocyanins provide the red color of this group. These antioxidants promote heart health, memory and urinary tract health. Many of these red fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin C. Foods from this group include cherries, tomatoes, and pinto beans.
Yellow/Orange: Carotenoids, bioflavonoids and vitamin C in these fruits and vegetables work together to help maintain a healthy immune system, maintain good eyesight, keep skin healthy, and lower the risk of heart attack. It is important to get these nutrients from whole foods. Foods from this group include Grapefruit, butternut squash and yellow split peas.
White, Tan and Brown: Although members of this group do not contain colorful pigments, they still provide health-promoting compounds that maintain a healthy immune system, protect against heart disease, and reduce the risk of cancer. Folic acid, fiber, potassium, selenium, vitamin C and phytochemicals such as quercitin, allicin and isoflavones are present in many of these fruits and vegetables. Items from this group include bananas, cauliflower and great northern beans.
By mixing it up and making it colorful, getting your daily dose of fiber from fruits and vegetables will be much more appealing. It will taste great too 🙂
Tomorrow’s post will be all about grains, which is another great source of fiber.