Fighting for Fruits and Vegetables: 5 Tips for Eating More Produce
What we eat in our youth can directly influence our health later in life—startling but true. In this day and age of fast-paced, video-game playing lifestyles, our children are getting less exercise and making poorer food choices—and setting themselves up for a life of health problems. Establishing a good diet is paramount, and you can't start too early!
"When we get cancer at the age of 50 or 60, it's caused by what we ate in our childhood," says Dr. Joel Fuhrman, MD, author of the book Disease-Proof Your Child: Feeding Kids Right, and a board-certified family physician specializing in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional and natural methods.
Not only does eating fruits and vegetables help ward off cancer; it helps reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, cataracts, liver dysfunction, and other problems, adds Dr. Robert Pastore, PhD, a nutritionist in New York City with a background in human nutrition and biochemistry.
Why do fruits and vegetables play such a large role in warding off major health problems? The answer lies in powerful antioxidants called phytochemicals, which prevent free-radical damage and are found in many fruits and veggies. Plus, the fiber and mineral content in fruits and vegetables protect against both hypertension and diabetes, growing problems in children.
Fruits and vegetables are more important than ever. These sweet and delicious, healthy foods can fill a child's tummy, preventing him or her from eating unhealthy foods. "Load up on a big bowl of fruit after school and it's very hard to stuff in that candy bar," says Marilyn Tanner, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (ADA).