Research has shown that simply increasing vegetables in your diet can make your brain 11 years younger!
While this may seem like a really simple task…it becomes more of a chore for the majority of people in the United States. Consider these sad facts: only 12% of Americans eat the minimum daily fruit recommendations of 1 ½ to 2 cups daily and only 9% consume the minimum daily vegetable intake of 2-3 cups, according to a CDC study.
What is even more alarming is that studies have shown the major vegetables consumed by children are potatoes and tomatoes…in the form of French fries and ketchup! That is a major problem!
Many people have trouble eating vegetables because their palate is not used to the tastes. Your tastebuds can be hijacked by high sugar and salt snack foods so many rely on each day. The good news is that you can change your tastebuds and start to not just tolerate, but enjoy your vegetables.
The quality of vegetables and fruits can be important as well. Vegetables that are organic and locally sourced have the highest nutrient density and lowest pesticide levels compared to other vegetables and fruits.
The Environmental Working Group has a great guide that comes out each year showing you the list of the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean 15”. These are the 12 most heavily sprayed produce items and the 15 least sprayed produce items. If at all possible you can choose to purchase organic when consuming something from the Dirty Dozen.
So what are some ways you can increase your veggie intake?
- Make a vegetable broth. Here is the Detox Broth handout I provide to my patients.
- Buy veggies, wash, cut and store in glass containers. This will allow for quick salads and crudite platters for meals.
- Learn to make stir-fry at home. This is a great way to make veggies tasty and add in healthy spices.
- Use greens in a smoothie blend and use a high power blender such as the Vitamix. The one at this link is the one we have used and really love. This can add a lot of greens to your diet and you can’t even tell they are in there.
- Use a great-tasting Greens drink that can be mixed on the go. 1 scoop provides the equivalent of 20+ servings of organic vegetables and fruits! It is extremely easy to mix one scoop with cold water, shake and enjoy!
- My favorite…by far…are the NutriDyn Fruits and Greens
- They have a variety of flavors including:
- Pink Lemonade – you can add fresh lemon and this is a great stand-alone greens drink, or you can serve with meals as a refreshing drink option. An evening “relaxation” drink we use is 1 scoop of pink lemonade greens and 1 scoop of the MetaRelax which provides calming magnesium and taurine.
- Grape – kids love the grape greens drink and won’t even know they aren’t getting Koolaid!
- Berry – this is a great option to add into your smoothies
- Strawberry-Kiwi – this is one of my favorites. I use it alone and I also like to mix it with the orange flavored Ultra InflamX Plus 360 medical food.
- Espresso – great as a cold coffee drink, added to your coffee, or added to vanilla flavored medical foods or protein powders. For example, my wife’s favorite drink is one scoop of Dynamic Paleo Protein with one scoop of Espresso Greens.
- Other flavors include chocolate, chocolate mint and mint.
So, in a nutshell, the big issue here is to eat more veggies! Start eating more now and your brain will thank you later!