Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, February 17, 2024

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Mountain Views-News Saturday, February 17, 2024 


Michele Silence, M.A. is a 37-year certified fitness 

professional who offers semi-private/virtual fitness 
classes. Contact Michele at Visit 
her Facebook page at: michelesfitness Visit her Facebook 
page at: michelesfitness.


Sure we all know that fruits and vegetables are good for health but 
just how many of us actually consume an amount known to offer 
health benefits? The answer is….about 10%. That’s right only 1 in 
10 people actually eat enough fruits and vegetables to benefit from 

If you’re part of the 90% who don’t eat enough, there are simple 
ways to improve. You don’t have to go from zero to maximum 
consumption either. Try to increase your intake gradually in ways 
that are hardly noticeable. Research has found that with as little 
at 2 ½ servings of each a day, the risk of heart disease, stroke and 
cardiovascular disease still goes down.

Here are some ways to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables:

• Add spinach, Swiss chard or baby kale to soups, pastas and 

• Create your own favorite sandwiches and eat more salads. 
Salads can be very low calorie if you watch the type of dressing used and they’re packed with many nutrients, fiber and 

• Swap something high calorie that you usually eat everyday for a smoothie. Make your own smoothie with 
whatever fruits and vegetables you like or have on hand. Even a protein powder drink can have a few fruits blended in 
to boost nutrient content.

• Enhance your breakfasts. Cereal and oatmeal can easily be topped with fresh berries, banana or other fruits. 
Sauteed vegetables can be mixed into hashbrowns/potatoes or scrambles. Who doesn’t like avocado toast?

• Switch up snacks. Keep fruit out where you can see it, you’re more likely to grab and able or banana if it’s in plain 
sight. Cut up some of your favorite vegetables like carrots, red peppers, cucumbers, etc. and have them ready for a quick 
dip into hummus, salsa or other low calorie dip. 

• Dried fruit counts. Instead of snacking on nuts and chips, replace some of them with a handful of dried fruit, 
whichever kind you like.

• Don’t forget soup. Soup can fill you up quick. A pot of fresh vegetable or minestrone is jam packed with 
nutrients. Whatever your favorite soup is, toss in another vegetable or two.

• Dessert counts too. A baked apple or pear with cinnamon can become a healthy dessert when you’re craving 
something sweet.

• Grill or roast vegetables. A tasty side to any meal is the addition of roasted vegetables. All it takes is a tiny bit 
of olive oil, a hot oven/grill and 20 minutes to bring out the flavor of a variety of tastes. If you have leftovers, toss them 
into plain pasta with a small amount of olive oil or in a salad if you prefer your vegetables cooked.

• Herbs and spices add a nice twist. Experiment with your favorite seasonings and see how much you can really 
enjoy a variety of different vegetables, especially when they’re fresh.

• Keep a few canned or frozen selections on hand for when you’re running low on food or short on time. Frozen 
vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh. Frozen fruit allow you to enjoy your favorite fruit even when it isn’t in season. 

Save money, reduce food waste and save time by always having canned/frozen backups.

And why should you try? Plenty of reasons. First, these foods lower the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, 
stroke, cancers and eye issues like macular degeneration. They also contain fiber which helps control blood sugar levels. 
Plus fiber aids in weight management because it contributes to a feeling of fullness and satiety. Fiber is great for the 
heart by helping lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and improve the heart’s overall function. It also helps with 
digestive issues. 

The antioxidants in fruits and vegetables neutralize the harmful free radicals in the body and slow down aging. High water 
content helps keep you hydrated. Being well hydrated is instrumental in regulating your temperature and transporting 
nutrients. Fruits and vegetables are 
rich in various vitamins, minerals and 
antioxidants. Specifically vitamin C 
and zinc help keep the immune system 
strong and ready to defend against 
infections. The same vitamins and 
antioxidants also promote skin health, 
protect against sun damage and help 
you look as young as possible.

One easy way to tell if you’re getting 
enough is to look at your plate at each 
meal. Is it filled with colorful foods? 
It should look more like a rainbow of 
colors instead of pale beige, brown and 
golden fried foods. If you’re looking 
at the amount of food, aim for 50 
percent of your plate containing fruits 
and vegetables. Variety is key here so 
be adventurous and try new foods or 
revisit old favorites. 

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