The Health Secret “They” Don’t Want You to Know

If you are like most Americans, you are not following this critical health practice.  Who is “they”?  In this case, people peddling the latest complicated fad diet.

The secret is not-so-secret:  eat your veggies.  I have written previously that one of the simplest things we can do to improve our health and longevity is to ensure that we’re eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.  I also reported four years ago that 90% of Americans don’t get enough of these disease-fighting powerhouses.  A recent report in MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report) found that that number has  not improved any:  Only 13% of Americans are getting the CDC-recommended intake of 1.5-2 cups of fruit per day, and 8.9% are getting the recommended 2-3 cups of veggies per day.

Besides providing health-promoting phytonutrients, fruits and veggies provide that forgotten nutrient, dietary fiber, that is profoundly linked to good health.  How do you get started on jumping out of the 90%?  Just be sure to include a serving of fruit or vegetable every time you eat (and no, French fries don’t count).

Must we live on broccoli alone?  Of course not — nuts and seeds also promote longevity, and you can grab some dark chocolate for dessert.  Besides its by now well-known cardiovascular benefits, a recent study from the University of Arizona found that chocolate containing at least 60% cacao actually improves attention, as measured by EEG.  So after a nice salad for lunch, grab an ounce of dark chocolate to help you through that mid-day slump.

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