By Dr. C. Michael Wright
Can an apple a day really keep the doctor away? Actually, it just might.
As a country, we spend billions of dollars on health care costs, much of it related to cardiovascular disease. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure killed more than 750,000 Americans in 2011, accounting for nearly a third of all fatalities in the United States.
The American Heart Association also tells us that nearly 1 in 3 Americans have some form of heart disease. The percentage is predicted to increase by 4 percent by the year 2030. Over the next 20 years the cost for cardiovascular medical care will nearly triple from $273 billion to an astounding $818 billion in 2030.
To solve this medical – and fiscal – dilemma, all we must do is look to that very apple – and eat it.
EATING WELL BALANCES THE (FISCAL) SCALE
Here’s what we already know: eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet is good for our health. But a good diet is also good for the economy.
Simple dietary changes – like adding more fruits and veggies, and yes, the proverbial apple – can prevent more than 127,000 heart-related deaths a year while saving the United States nearly $17 billion in medical costs.
The truth is, the average American consumes 4-5 fruit and vegetable servings a day vs. the recommended 9 to 13 servings. If every American were to eat the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables a day, the economic value saved from preventing deaths associated with heart disease is estimated at $11 trillion dollars.
3 EASY WAYS TO SNEAK IN MORE FRUITS & VEGGIES
Saving the country trillions of dollars in medical costs is just one advantage of eating healthy. You get to feel better, too – and if that isn’t motivation enough, just think of how much weight you can lose.
Here are three practical ways to add more fruits and veggies into your diet. Do it for your heart!
Blending your fruits and veggies into a delicious morning smoothie is an excellent way to get more vitamins and minerals in your diet. Try to avoid juicing, though – most experts recommend keeping the fibrous part of the fruit and vegetable intact. Smoothies are easy to drink just like juicing, yet the process preserves the precious fiber our body needs to process food efficiently.
2. Be a Sneaky ChefIt’s okay to be sneaky when it comes to vegetables. Shredding veggies and including them in recipes like meatloaf, stews, spaghetti and many other dishes not only increases your intake but keeps recipes delicious and nutritious. See additional
sneaky cooking tipsat
3. Keep a fruit and veggie journalTrack your fruit and vegetable intake by jotting down at the end of the day the number of servings of each that you have eaten. Set a goal to gradually increase the number over the next several weeks, and you will be
amazedat how effective this is at eliminating alternative unhealthy choices.
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