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Nutrition and Cancer - A Day For Better Health

The Fruits and Veggies Matter Program, sponsored by the CDC and the Produce for Better Health Foundation, is a national initiative to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables by all Americans to 5 to 9 servings a day. Fruits and vegetables should be the foundation of a healthy diet. Most people need to double the amount of fruits and vegetables they eat every day. Any fruit or vegetable--frozen, fresh, canned, dried fruit, or juice--counts toward a serving.

Eating 5 to 9 servings a day of fruits and vegetables may reduce your risk of cancer, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and macular degeneration. Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. The antioxidants and phytochemicals in certain fruits and vegetables are showing promising results towards preventing free radicals or cancer-causing agents from damaging cells.

How to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet

Ways to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet include the following:

  • Drinking fruit or vegetable juice, or eating fruit cocktail with breakfast.
  • Having a fruit salad, a piece of fruit, or baby carrots instead of potato chips with a sandwich.
  • Having vegetable soup or a garden salad with low-fat dressing as an appetizer.
  • Stocking up on dried, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables.
  • Setting fruits and vegetables in bowls in the kitchen, making them more visible.
  • Having microwaved vegetables with dinner.
  • Taking prewashed cut snacks of fruit and vegetables with you to work or shopping.

Nutrition tip: At your next visit to the grocery store, reach for apples and carrots for snacks instead of cookies and chips. For more convenience, choose precut or individually packaged fruits and vegetables such as raw baby carrots, fruit cups, small boxes of raisins, or bagged salads.

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