Posts Tagged “fruits and vegetables”

Eating More Fruits, Vegetables Boosts Psychological Well-Being In Just 2 Weeks

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USDAby Honor Whiteman, Medical News Today

Fruits and vegetables are a pivotal part of a healthful diet, but their benefits are not limited to physical health. New research finds that increasing fruit and vegetable consumption may improve psychological well-being in as little as 2 weeks.

Study leader Dr. Tamlin Conner, of the Department of Psychology at the University of Otago in New Zealand, and colleagues found that young adults who were given extra fruits and vegetables each day for 14 days ate more of the produce and experienced a boost in motivation and vitality.

The researchers recently reported their findings in the journal PLOS One.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, adults should aim to consume around two cups of fruits and around two to three cups of vegetables daily.

One cup of fruits is the equivalent to half a grapefruit or a large orange, and one cup of vegetables is proportionate to one large red pepper or a large, baked sweet potato.

As part of a healthful diet, fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.

In recent years, studies have suggested that fruit and vegetable intake may also improve mental health. For their study, Dr. Conner and team set out to investigate this association further.

The researchers enrolled 171 students aged between 18 and 25 to their study, and they were divided into three groups for 2 weeks.

One group continued with their normal eating pattern, one group was personally handed two additional servings of fresh fruits and vegetables (including carrots, kiwi fruit, apples, and oranges) each day, while the remaining group was given prepaid produce vouchers and received text reminders to consume more fruits and vegetables.

At the beginning and end of the study, participants were subjected to psychological assessments that evaluated mood, vitality, motivation, symptoms of depression and anxiety, and other determinants of mental health and well-being.

The researchers found that participants who personally received extra fruits and vegetables consumed the most of these products over the 2 weeks, at 3.7 servings daily, and it was this group that experienced improvements in psychological well-being. In particular, these participants demonstrated improvements in vitality, motivation, and flourishing.

The other two groups showed no improvements in psychological well-being over the 2-week period.



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$3 a Day for Produce Can Meet Dietary Guidelines

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DSCN5310Consumers can meet the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americas for less than $3 per day, according to a new report.
The report, The Cost of Satisfying Fruit and Vegetable Recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines,  the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service updated previous estimates of the costs required to meet federal fruit and vegetable recommendations.
“Our analysis shows that individuals on a 2,000-calorie reference diet can purchase a variety of fruits and vegetables satisfying the 2015-20 Dietary Guidelines for Americans for $2.10 to $2.60 per day,” according to the report. This would purchase a pound and an edible cup-equivalent of 156 commonly consumed fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, according to the USDA. The dietary guidelines recommend consumers on a 2,000 calorie diet consume 2 cup-equivalents of fruit and 2.5 cup equivalents of vegetables each day.
Using retail scanner data from 2013, the USDA estimated average prices for 24 fresh fruits and 40 fresh vegetables, and 92 processed fruits and vegetables.
Retail costs of fruits and vegetables vary over time. However, the authors point out the Consumer Price Index shows that fruit and vegetable prices increased by just 4% between 2008 and 2013.  This was less than the 8.2% increase for all consumer goods and services in that period. This suggests the relative cost of fruits and vegetables has decreased for consumers.
The USDA said nine of 63 fruits (14%) cost less than 40 cents per cup-equivalent. Watermelon (21 cents), frozen concentrated apple juice (27 cents), and bananas (29 cents) were the least expensive. Twenty-six fruits (41%) cost between 40 and 80 cents per cup-equivalent, according to the USDA. These include apples, 42 cents, oranges, 58 cents, and grapes, 72 cents. Twenty-seven fruits cost more than 80 cents per cup-equivalent, the USDA said, with fresh raspberries ($2.32) and canned cherries ($2.39) at the top of the price range,
Likewise, the USDA said that 16 of 96 vegetables (17%) cost less than 40 cents per cup-equivalent. Potatoes (18 cents), dried pinto beans (19 cents), and dried lentils (20 cents) were least expensive. 58 vegetables (60%) cost between 40 and 80 cents per cup-equivalent, including onions (41 cents), canned tomatoes (50 cents), and broccoli (72 cents), according to the release.  22 vegetables cost more than 80 cents per cup-equivalent, with frozen artichokes $2.55 and fresh asparagus $2.58 are at the high price range.

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Gallup: Americans Claim They Actively Try To Eat Produce

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DSCN4673by Rebecca Riffkin, Gallup

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans are more likely to say they actively try to avoid including soda or pop in their diet than 14 other foods, including sugar and fat. At least six in 10 U.S. adults say they are trying to steer clear of these drinks — regardless of whether they are diet or regular.

Americans are most likely to say they actively try to include fruits and vegetables in their diet. Gallup asked 1,009 Americans about the foods they try to include or avoid in their diet as part of its annual Consumption Habits poll in July. Previous Gallup reports have focused on Americans’ avoidance or inclusion of gluten-free foods and salt or fat.

Americans appear to be aware of the health benefits of fruits and vegetables, with at least nine in 10 saying they actively try to include each in their diet. At least three in four Americans also say they try to include chicken and fish in their diet, meats that nutrition experts often recommend to help with heart health, in lieu of beef and other red meat — which nevertheless, 63% of Americans still actively try to include in their diet.

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Kansas Legislation Would Kill Sales Tax on Fresh Produce

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DSCN5116Kansas Democrats and Republicans has agreed upon bipartisan legislation, which was recently been filed in hopes of making fresh food more affordable in the state.

Republican Senator Michael O’Donnell, and Democratic Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau, both of Wichita, filed Senate Bill 263.  The measure would eliminate the state tax on fruits and vegetables.  The purpose is to encourage Kansans to eat healthier, plus it would support local farmers, as well small business owners who lose business across state lines.

Senator O’Donnell believes killing the sales tax on fresh fruits and vegetables would improve the health of everyone.  Research indicates a link between obesity and higher fruit and vegetable prices.  The higher prices make it more challenging for many families to eat healthy.

At 6.15 percent, Kanas’ sales tax is second highest in the nation behind Mississippi.   In addition to that, county and city governments can levy their own taxes, bringing the total as high as 9 percent in some areas.

Kansas has over 2.9 million residents and ranks 31st in population among the states.  It ranks 15th in geographic  size.

The most populous city in Kansas is Wichita (population 382,000), followed by Overland Park (174,000) and Kansas City (127,000) and Topeka (127,000).

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Study Claims 5 Servings a Day of Produce Extends Life

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IMG_6030By The Alliance for Food and Farming

A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that consumption of five servings of fruits and vegetables a day leads to a longer life.  The comprehensive research, conducted in Sweden, studied more than 71,000 people aged 45 to 83 for 13 years.  Among the key findings, eating fewer than five servings of fruits and vegetables each day is linked with a higher chance of dying early. Participants who ate at least one serving of fruit daily lived 19 months longer than those who never ate fruit, on average. And those who ate at least three servings of vegetables per day lived 32 months longer than people who reported not eating vegetables.

This Swedish study can be added to the decades of nutritional research that show the benefits of eating fruits and veggies on improved health.  Another important example is the recent peer reviewed study published in the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology which found that if half of Americans increased their consumption of fruits and vegetables by a single serving, 20,000 cancer cases could be prevented.  (It should be noted that most of these nutritional studies were conducted using conventionally grown produce.) 

This type of science based evidence is why the Alliance for Food and Farming joins with public health experts, the government, and environmental groups in encouraging consumption of all fruits and vegetables – organic and conventional.  Experts agree that both are grown safety and can be eaten with confidence.

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USA Restaurants are Serving Healthier Meals

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Consumers in general are eating more healthy foods, including fresh fruits and vegetable. This is a factor in the USA  restaurant industry looking forward to a good year in 2013.

Restaurant industry sales are predicted to topexceed $660 billion in 2013.  This would be a 3.8 percent increase from 2012, says the annual Restaurant Industry Forecast from the Washington, D.C.-based National Restaurant Association.

This would mark the fourth consecutive year of industry sales increases.

The study sees Americans eating more healthfully when they eat out in 2013.

Over 70 percent of people polled claim they are attempting to eat better at restaurants compared to two years ago.  About three-quarters of consumers state healthful menu options are an important factor when choosing a restaurant.

Restaurants are making changes to meet the demand for more healthy meals.  Around 86 percent of those polled stated eating establishment are offering a wider variety now than two years ago.

2013 is expected to be the 14th straight year in which restaurant industry employment outpaces overall USA employment, the forecast reads.

Restaurants are forecast to employ 13.1 million people in 2013, making the industry the nation’s second-largest private-sector employer.

In 2012, restaurants added jobs at a rate of three percent more than double the overall USA employment rate of 1.4 percent. In 2013, restaurants expected to add jobs at a 2.4 percent rate, .9 percent more than the expected overall rate.

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