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1/4/13 7:16 A

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Fruit & Vegetable Portion Sizes


Feb 26, 2011 | By Melodie Tomas As a student researcher, Melodie Tomas has been able to contribute to both scholarly and consumer publications since 2008. Her first publications for the Middlesex-London Health Unit included "Healthy Holiday Eating" and "Fast Food Facts." Melodie is pursuing her master's degree in foods and nutrition at The University of Western Ontario as well as completing her internship to become a Registered Dietitian.

People who eat more fruits and vegetables are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension. To properly include nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables in your daily meals or snacks, you need to understand what an appropriate portion size is.

Number of Servings
The USDA MyPyramid recommendations provide guidelines for how many servings of fruits and vegetables you should consume each day for good health. These recommendations vary, depending on your age, sex and level of physical activity. In general, women age 19 to 30 should consume 2 cups of fruit each day. Women age 31 and older should have 1.5 cups per day. Men age 19 and above should eat 2 cups of fruit each day. For vegetables, women age 19 and above should have 2.5 cups of vegetables each day. Men of the same age range have the higher recommendation of 3 cups daily.


Fruit Portions
Knowing the number of daily servings of fruit and vegetables is important, but it isn't useful information if you don't know how much one portion is. In general, 1 cup of fruit, 1 cup of 100 percent fruit juice or 1/2 cup of dried fruit are each considered one serving. Examples of whole fruits that count as one serving include: half of a 3 1/4-inch apple or one 2 1/2-inch apple; one 8-inch banana; 32 seedless grapes; eight large strawberries; one 3 1/16-inch orange; and one 2 3/4-inch peach. For fruit that is chopped or diced, use a measuring cup to determine what a true 1-cup portion is.

Vegetable Portions
The same general rules for fruit portions also apply to vegetable portions. One cup of raw or cooked vegetables, 1 cup of vegetable juice or 2 cups of raw leafy greens are each considered a 1-cup serving. Examples of whole vegetables that count as a 1-cup serving include: three 5-inch broccoli spears; two medium carrots; one 3-inch boiled or baked white potato; one 8- to 9-inch ear of corn; and 2 cups of spinach or romaine lettuce. For vegetables that are chopped or diced, use a measuring cup to determine a true 1-cup portion.

Nutrients
There are many nutritional benefits to eating fruits and vegetables. Almost all fresh produce is naturally low in fat and calories, and none contain cholesterol. This is important if you are trying to lose or maintain your weight, and if you have high cholesterol. Fruit is a ready source of potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, folate and many other nutrients. Vegetables are important sources of potassium, dietary fiber, folate and vitamin C, among others. Dietary potassium may assist in maintaining a healthy blood pressure. Dietary fiber helps you feel full longer, so you may avoid overeating, and it keeps your intestines functioning regularly. Folate is required for the formation and maintenance of red blood cells. Vitamin C plays an important role in wound healing.





Edited by: WHISPERINGPINE9 at: 1/4/2013 (07:18)
Marj .... Your body keeps an accurate journal regardless of what you write down.

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