Drinking Your Vegetables May Lead to a Healthier You
< Oct. 29, 2008 > -- People who make vegetable juice part of their daily diet are more likely to get recommended daily servings, according to a new research study.
Researchers from the University of California-Davis found that making vegetable juice a part of your daily diet could be a small step in meeting daily vegetable recommendations. Their research was presented at the American Dietetic Association (ADA) annual meeting.
US Dietary Guidelines advise individuals to consume three to five servings of vegetables daily, based on caloric intake. Seven out of ten adults fall short of the daily recommended vegetable intake. According to the study, drinking vegetable juice is a simple behavior change to boost the intake of this critical food group.
"What we found in this study is that drinking vegetable juice seemed to address some of the key barriers to vegetable consumption such as convenience, portability, and taste, so individuals were more likely to meet their daily recommendations," says Carl Keen, PhD, study author and distinguished Professor of Nutrition and Internal Medicine at the University of California-Davis. "Furthermore, vegetable juice drinkers reported that they actually enjoyed drinking their vegetables, which is critical to adopting dietary practices for the long-term."
Convenience Is Pivotal For Behavioral Change
This study consisted of 90 healthy men and women divided into three groups. All three groups received dietary counseling on ways to increase vegetables in their diet, but only two groups were instructed to drink at least one serving of 100 percent vegetable juice daily.
Of those two groups, one group drank one 8-ounce glass of vegetable juice every day and the other drank two 8-ounce glasses of vegetable juice every day as part of a balanced eating plan.
More than half of the participants who drank one serving of 100 percent vegetable juice met the recommendations, as did all of those who drank two 8-ounce glasses of 100 percent vegetable juice each day. Of those who did not drink any vegetable juice, less than twenty-five percent got enough vegetables.
Based on the results of the study, researchers conclude that changing dietary behavior is much more effective when dietary advice is complemented with tangible, easy, and convenient solutions.
In fact, six weeks after the study began, vegetable drinkers reported feeling "more satisfied" with the ease of getting vegetables into their diet, and that drinking 100 percent vegetable juice provided an additional source of vitamins and minerals.
What Do the Experts Say?
All forms of vegetables count as a member of the vegetable group, according to the Produce For Better Health Foundation.
Vegetables can be served in several ways-juice, raw, cooked, whole, cut-up, mashed, canned, or dried/dehydrated.
"The best type of vegetable is one that you will actually consume, so it's important to provide people with a variety of great tasting options and ways to include them in their diet," says Elizabeth Pivonka, PhD, RD, of the Produce for Better Health Foundation. "That's why we encourage people to explore all types of vegetables, such as 100 percent juice, fresh, frozen or canned, to get at least one serving of vegetables at each meal occasion throughout the day."
Eat Vegetables and Stay Healthy
A growing body of science states that vegetables are important to promote good health, to help reduce risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, and to achieve a healthy weight.
A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM), associated the consumption of a diet high in fruits and vegetables with a decrease in risk factors for certain chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Since 1980, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) jointly publish the Dietary Guidelines for Americans every 5 years. These guidelines provide expert advice about how good dietary habits can promote health, and reduce risk for major chronic diseases for individuals ranging from two years and older.
Always consult your physician for more information.
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Mom Was Right: Vegetables Are Good for You
What do broccoli, Brussels sprouts, turnips, and beets have in common? They all send shivers up the spines of most 7- and 8-year-olds. But persevere, moms and dads, because science is behind you - we should be eating our vegetables.
If we do not get vitamins in our diet, we will develop serious health problems, says Dr. Gary W. Elmer, professor of medicinal chemistry at the University of Washington School of Pharmacy. He states, "There's a strong correlation between increased intake of vegetables and a lower rate of chronic diseases."
Vitamins help the enzymes in our body carry out important metabolic steps. Some vitamins have been directly linked to the prevention of specific diseases-neural tube birth defects, rickets, blindness, pellagra, beri beri, Wernicke-Korsikov syndrome, scurvy, and pernicious anemia.
Most people know whether they are on a well-balanced diet, Dr. Elmer says. If not, though, an easy way to find out is to track your food intake for a week and then use a food table that allows you to compare your intake of vitamins with the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs). The US Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Information Center web site has a variety of DRI tables.
DRIs include Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs), which describe the intake that meets the estimated nutrient need of nearly all (up to 98 percent) healthy individuals in a specific age and gender group. The RDAs will help guide you to achieve adequate nutrient intake.
DRIs also include another category: Adequate Intake (AI), which is used when sufficient scientific evidence is not available to calculate an estimated average requirement. The AI value is used as a goal for individual dietary intake when an RDA cannot be determined.
If you are meeting the DRIs, you can rest assured that you are on the winning side against disease, because the RDA and AI are not a minimum, but are set at a higher level than what is essential, Dr. Elmer says.
If you are below the RDA or AI, however, you should try to improve your diet and take a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement. A good supplement should contain at least the following vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, folic acid, A, D, and E. Generic brands are generally acceptable.
So, with all this good news about vitamins, why has it taken so long for such simple advice as "eat your vegetables" to sink into the collective American psyche?
We have simply acquired too fine a taste for salty, fatty food, according to Dr. Elmer. "A heaping plate of vegetables with wedges of orange and mango on the side is not the American idea of a gourmet meal," he says.
Always consult your physician for more information.
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