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Why five-a-day?

Evidence shows there are significant health benefits to getting five-to-nine servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables every day.

This recommended daily amount is thought to help reduce the risk of many serious health conditions. The five-a-day message encourages people to enjoy different fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy balanced diet.

 You might ask, why exactly are fruits and vegetables so important? First of all, they are a fantastic source of vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, potassium and folate, which help in many ways such as healing and maintaining healthy heart function. Additionally, they provide dietary fiber helping to maintain a healthy digestive system and lower risk of bowel cancer. As part of a healthy diet, fruits and vegetables can lower your risk of stroke, heart disease, type two diabetes, and some cancers. Fruits and vegetables are also often low in fat helping you to maintain a healthy weight.

 A common question for those trying to fit five servings of fruits and vegetables in their diet is, what counts towards the five-a-day recommendation? The answer is almost all fruits and vegetables. Although fresh is best, frozen and canned items also count. Don’t forget that your local farmer’s market is a great place to get locally grown and seasonal produce.

 For more information on fruits and vegetables, meal planning, recipes, and ways to teach your kids about fruits and vegetables, visit the “Fruit and Veggies: More Matters” website at https://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org.

Karen Fallon, MPH, RD, LD works for the Jessamine County Health Department.