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We all know that fruits and vegetables are good for us, but how many of us actually eat them? The age-old wisdom that an apple a day would keep the doctor away has become a five-a-day mantra on fruits and vegetables.

Most of us start out with good intentions, but instead of tossing up a fruit and vegetable salad the mantra goes for a toss! The result: we end up consuming way below the required levels.

A snap survey of harassed executives who eat on the run, paints an even gloomier picture. The closest to one portion many are getting is the tomato sauce on their take away pasta.

In the concrete jungle, vending machines have replaced trees, and they do not pop out pears.

We do take measures to incorporate fruit and vegetables in our diet. These were the mainstay of our diets a few centuries back, but they are often relegated to side orders. In fact, these very fruits and vegetables can have a stake on our health. Together they are armed to reduce the risk of ailments like cancer, coronary hear disease and strokes.

Why the dismal consumption figures?

Survey reports say that it’s not that fruit and vegetables get bad marketing. But, it’s just that they don’t have labels like ‘No Fat’ or ‘Low Fat’ attached to them.

It is taken foe granted that fruit and vegetables are good for us. And because they aren’t pushed in our face in the age of brand marketing, we become blasé about just how good they are for us.

If fruits and vegetable packages had such-phrases like breakfast cereals-low fat, no preservatives, no colorants, no flavourants, no added sugar, no added salt, fibre-rich, bursting with antioxidants, chock-full of vitamins, packed to the brim with cancer-fighting physiochemical, contains minerals too numerous – we would all be munching on them.

Research reports led experts to estimate that cancer rates would decrease by as much as 20 per cent if people would eat a minimum of five portions of fruit and vegetables per day.

What constitutes a healthy portion?

It’s only 80 gm, and it translates in fresh fruit terms to about a handful. One crispy apple, 16 cherries, one juicy orange or 10 strawberries. Dried fruits are more compact, so less is more: two dried pear halves, three dried peach halves, or a tablespoon of raisins.

For cooked vegetables, half a cup packed with nutritional punch is a portion size. However, potatoes do not count.

There are some following tips that I have found at http://www.activerx.com , that will help you to improve your diet.

1. Go easy on yourself

Think about what your favourite fruits and vegetables are. Add those in your diet. If you hate vegetables, start out with fruits and see if a vegetable soup can’t tempt you. If the texture of fruit is a turn-off, throw them into a blender with some milk and make a smoothie.

2. Start out strong

Include some fruit and vegetables in every meal: cook tomatoes and mushrooms with your breakfast, or a fruit salad and yoghurt with your breakfast with your cereal, or a side plate of salad with your lunch… That will rack up enough fruits and vegetables to make you healthy.

Opt for the canned variety of you please. It doesn’t matter whether you have them fresh or preserved, as long as you have them. The nutritional benefits are just the same.

3. Increase access

Haul in your colleagues and set up a fruit bowl at work. In all likelihood, if it is there, you will find yourself reaching for an apple instead of gobbling down those crisps or sweets.

4. Snack your way to success.

Keep some dried fruits in your hand-bag and snack on them while stuck in traffic

5. Refocus your dinner planning around the vegetables.

This is a mind shift that might require an investment in a good veggie recipe book. But, it will definitely shift the excess weight off your ships

6. Nature’s laxatives

A high fruit and vegetable diet keeps your bowel movement regular.

7. Blood sugar stabilizer

The fibre from fruits and vegetables slows glucose absorption, making blood sugar levels more stable.

8. Hearts friend

Fruits and vegetables fibre reduces cholesterol absorption in the blood stream.

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