Working in the grocery industry for more than 40 years, Mike Miranda knows the power of produce.
“For the older people like myself, it is crucial that we eat more fruits and vegetables to have that strong heart and the energy that we all need,” said Miranda.
Miranda is a produce manager at Leevers Locavore, a 100% employee-owned grocery store in Denver, Colorado.
While Miranda’s family’s diet is about 70% fruits and vegetables, health experts say most Americans aren’t eating nearly enough.
“Everybody should be aiming to get five servings of fruits and vegetables per day,” said Dr. Anne Thorndike, MD, with Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.
She says new researchfrom the American Heart Association shows eating two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables per day helped people live longer and healthier lives, while also lowering the risk of several chronic diseases. The benefits, however, only happen if this diet is done consistently.
“I think that’s the trick. This is something you need to do every day,” Thorndike said. “It’s not something you do once a week."
Thorndike says while fresh, frozen and canned produce all have the similar health benefits, all varieties don’t have the same nutritional value.
“Starchy fruits and vegetables do not confer the same benefit,” she said. “When I say starchy fruits and vegetables, I mean corn, peas and white potatoes."
Some of the best produce to eat are green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits, especially if eaten whole, whereas juicing actually extracts essential vitamins and minerals.
While this study found that people who ate more than five servings of fruits and vegetables per day did not see any extra health benefits, Miranda still plans on consuming as much produce as possible.
“I think it’s great just for the longevity of life and the quality of life,” he said.