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Most Americans Are Not Eating Enough Fruits and Vegetables

Recently the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) released the  depressing news that very few Americans are eating recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables. Many studies show that eating several servings each day of fruits and vegetables has all sorts of health benefits (e.g., live longer, lower inflammation, lower risk of diabetes and some cancers).

The CDC reported in the Jan. 7, 2022 CDC weekly report that surveys of 294,566 adults in 2019 found that only 12.3% of American adults met fruit intake recommendations, and 10.0% of adults met vegetable intake recommendations.

What are the daily recommendations for fruits and vegetables? According to the CDC, current Dietary Guidelines for Americans advise eating more fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy dietary pattern. This means adults should consume 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups vegetables daily. (Note: A serving is usually about 1/2 cup of fruits or vegetables.)

Why should you follow these guidelines? The CDC states: "A healthy diet supports healthy immune function and helps to prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and some cancers." Also, having "some of these conditions can predispose persons to more severe illness and death from COVID-19."

Another reason, and one that they don't mention is research finding that eating more fruits and vegetables daily (as part of a healthy diet such as the Mediterranean diet) also improves the gut microbiome. What you eat feeds gut microbes - so you want to feed beneficial microbes associated with health, and not those microbes associated with chronic inflammation and some chronic diseases (e.g. heart disease, diabetes, some cancers).

CDC weekly report, Jan. 7, 2022: Adults Meeting Fruit and Vegetable Intake Recommendations — United States, 2019

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