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More Than 5 A Day

Contributed by: NAPSA

(NAPSA) - From the time that my kids were very young, I have tried to include at least five servings of fruits and vegetables into our family menu. Each meal has at least one or two servings, and a fruit or vegetable at snack is pretty common in our house. What you may not know is that men and growing teens need even more than "5 A Day."

According to the government's Food Guide Pyramid, men, teenage boys, and very active women should eat about four daily servings of fruit and five of vegetables, for a total of nine. According to the National Cancer Institute, getting enough fruits and vegetables can lower a man's risk of many cancers, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes. However, few men reach the suggested goal of nine daily servings. Men also have higher cancer and heart disease death rates than women do.

Fruits and vegetables are packed with disease-fighting properties. "Eating a variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables provides fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, all of which are beneficial for preventing chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer,"said Liz Ward, R.D., author of "Healthy Foods, Healthy Kids." Since different fruits and vegetables have different combinations of phytochemicals, the National Cancer Institute suggests choosing a variety according to color: yellow-orange, red, green, blue-purple, and white.

Fitting nine servings into your day is easier than you think. Start the morning with two servings by scattering 1/2 cup of berries onto your cereal and enjoying a small glass of juice. Add a serving by crunching on carrot and celery sticks for a mid-morning snack. Get at least two more servings at lunch with a tossed salad and bowl of vegetable soup. A piece of fruit makes a great snack. Put two different vegetables on your dinner plate and have a fruit dessert.

On the go? Bring raw vegetables in a plastic container. Tuck a small plastic bag of dried fruit in your briefcase. Keep a small can of fruit or vegetable juice in your car. Order fruit, a salad, or vegetable soup when you eat out.

Ask Mindy

Q: I don't like most fruits. Can I get the same benefits from eating more vegetables? Jon, Palm Springs, CA

A: Yes, as long as you pick your vegetables by color. Include as many different colored vegetables as you can every day.

A Rainbow of Colours

Sweet PotatoesMushroomsTomatoesGrapesGreen beans
CarrotsCauliflower  Spinach


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