Eat a Rainbow
Boosting your daily fruit and vegetable servings from two or three to eight can reduce high blood pressure and heart disease by 20 percent and stroke by 30 percent. It can also lower your risk of several cancers, including colorectal, lung, and breast.
It's easier to do than it sounds: A "serving" is only a half cup of a vegetable, a cup of salad greens, a medium fruit, or six ounces of juice (3/4 cup). So a heaping portion of broccoli at dinner might count as three servings. Every little bit helps: Adding just one extra serving of a fruit or vegetable a day cuts your long-term risk of heart disease by 4 percent. To do it:
Be varied. Each fruit and vegetable has its own package of nutrients and protective compounds. The wider your range of plant-based foods, the more benefits you'll get.
Go for color. The deeper and richer, the more nutritious. Enjoy red, orange, yellow, green, and purple produce.
Freeze it. Fresh is lovely, but you'll get the same level of nutrients from frozen vegetables (or fruits), which are often more convenient.
"I started roasting vegetables like peppers and zucchini and adding dill and rosemary to other veggies for more flavor," says Julie Castillo, Geddy's mom. Now she tops pancakes with strawberries or blueberries and often bakes apples with a little brown sugar. She's planted a small vegetable garden too.