A study* recently published in the Journal of Epidemiology concluded that approximately 7.8 million premature deaths every year may have been prevented if 8 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables were consumed daily. Yet, according to the CDC, less than 20% of Americans are consuming 4 servings (the mainstream recommendation) of fruits and vegetables a day.
If you are desiring to heal from any type of illness, let alone something as challenging as cancer, you can’t afford not to eat your veggies! This is one of the reasons that I am such a fan of green juice and high quality supergreen powders. They give a us a major jumpstart on getting those 8-10 servings. Still we need to eat more organic vegetables (and certain fruits) during most, if not all of our meals.
Here are 13 tips from Dr. Kellyann who specializes in anti-inflammation and gut-healing protocols. (drkellyann.com)
- Eat more salads. In fact, one a day if you can. Because a salad is essentially a big bowl of vegetables and a great way to get at least 3 to 4 servings in one meal. For example, a cup of leafy greens is considered one serving. And salads typically consist of 2 cups of leafy greens. So that’s 2 servings right there! And then each ½ cup of non-leafy veggies (carrots, cucumber, broccoli, etc.) is another serving. And most salads typically contain at least 1 cup of additional non-leafy veggies.
- Stock up on soup. I love making a big batch of soup or stew loaded with veggies on my meal prep day. Just like salads, a big bowl of soup can offer 3 to 4 servings of vegetables.
- Double the veggies in your recipe. This works especially well with soups, salads, and casseroles.
- Replace traditional pasta noodles with vegetable noodles. This includes spiralized zucchini, a.k.a. zoodles. But other veggies work too, such as sweet potatoes and parsnips. And don’t forget spsaghetti squash.
- Use cauliflower to make pizza crust. Cauliflower has proven to be a very versatile vegetable. And there are tons of great recipes for cauliflower pizza crust out there. Just don’t forget to add veggie toppings for a double dose!
- Always add a handful or two of leafy greens. Even if the recipe doesn’t call for it. I personally love adding kale to my soups, chard to my eggs, and spinach to my shakes and smoothies.
- Meal plan and shop according to your plan. This will ensure you have enough veggies on hand for each meal and snack.
- Prep fruits and veggies ahead of time. Not just for your meals, but for smoothies and snacks as well. Spending time once a week to clean, cut, and dice will ensure you have fruits and veggies ready to go when you need them. Which means you’ll be more likely to eat them.
- Stock up on frozen vegetables. Frozen veggies can be a lifesaver when you’re short on time or things didn’t go as planned. You can use them to whip up a stir-fry–in one pan no less.
- Dip your veggies in veggies. For example, make a batch of spinach and artichoke dip and serve it with carrot and celery sticks. Also, two common favorites, guacamole and salsa, are made up of mostly fruits and vegetables.
- Don’t forget about sea vegetables. Also known as seaweed, sea vegetables are highly concentrated sources of health promoting nutrients. Consider adding wakame to soups, using nori sheets as wraps, and mixing kelp granules in with your other seasonings.
- Spice things up. Herbs and spices may not be vegetables per se, but they’re still plants. And like seaweed, they’re concentrated sources of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant phytonutrients. Which means a little goes a long way. So, add herbs and spices to your veggies as well as your salads, soups, and even smoothies. Also, use them in dressings, sauces, and dips.
- Add berries to shakes and smoothies. Along with a handful of greens, I love adding berries (fresh or frozen) to my shakes for a nutritional boost.
Our bodies are designed to heal, regenerate and be whole. But it does require the right physical, emotional and even spiritual nourishment to do so. And as Hippocrates said so long ago, “Let thy food be thy medicine.” Take action on the above suggestions and see the difference it can make.
*Fruit and vegetable intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer and all-cause mortality—a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies
Dagfinn Aune Edward Giovannucci Paolo Boffetta Lars T Fadnes NaNa Keum Teresa Norat Darren C GreenwoodElio Riboli Lars J Vatten Serena Tonstad
International Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 46, Issue 3, 1 June 2017, Pages 1029–1056, https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyw319