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Benefits of Five Daily Servings of Fruits and Vegetables

Grandmother was right: eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day!

Researchers examined data from 16 prospective studies and found the more fruits and vegetables people ate each day, the lower their risk for all-cause mortality. Each serving was 2.8 ounces (80 grams) of fruit or vegetable. It appeared that 5 servings per day optimized the benefits. Each fruit or vegetable serving lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease by 4%.

PositiveTip: Seems the oft-heralded 5 servings a day of fruits and vegetables does reduce disease risk.

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Veggies For Infants

The earlier a child starts eating a vegetable, the more likely they are to keep eating it.

Health researchers found a key to overcoming the battle between kids and vegetables: serve them often and early. Researchers gave artichoke puree to 332 children from three countries at various ages and found younger children were more likely to continue eating the vegetable than older children. Even typically fussy eaters will continue to eat the vegetable if you give it to them 5-10 times at an early age.

PositiveTip:  Include plenty of veggies after weaning your children.

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Fruits and Vegetables Affordable

Very few Americans eat the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest reports that fruits and vegetables are often more economical than packaged snacks and side dishes. By analyzing 20 popular snack and 19 side dish items, half of which were fruits and vegetables, they found the average cost per serving of fruit or vegetables was $0.34 and the unhealthy snacks cost $0.67. 

PositiveTip: Refuse to believe the popular myth that healthy fruits or vegetables are too expensive! Fruits and veggies are lower in calories and much more nutrient dense also.

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Family Meals Help with Fruits and Vegetables

Children who eat meals with their family eat more fruits and vegetables

Children in families who regularly eat fruits and vegetables and eat together are more likely to meet the WHO's regular daily intake of five 2.8 oz. servings per day. A study of almost 3000 children in London with an average age of 8.3 years also found that kids ate more when fruits and vegetables where cut into small pieces. The combination of eating together as a family, positive parental examples, and cutting up fruits and vegetables significantly increased consumption.

PositiveTip: Families, eat your meals and fruits and vegetables together!

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Use Your Fork to Lower the Risk of Cancer

Choose to eat plenty of cancer fighting foods.

Have you ever wondered how you should eat to fight cancer? While no single food or component of food can guarantee you will not get cancer, evidence is strong that a diet composed of a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains may lower your risk for a good number of cancers. The American Institute of Cancer Research has a wonderful online resource with the most up-to-date evidence available.

PositiveTip: Educate yourself today on how you can eat to lower your risk of cancer.

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Recipe for Weight Loss

Pass the veggies and fruit, skip the desserts and red meat.

More than 400 postmenopausal women were randomly assigend to two groups: either a "lifestyle change" group, which included group meetings with professionals, or a health education control group. After 48 months of follow-up, 57% of the women in the lifestyle change group and 29% of the controls had maintained at least 5 pounds of weight loss. Multivariate analysis of both groups revealed that increasing fruit and vegetable counsumption and decreasing desserts, sugary beverages, and meat and cheese were associated with sucessful weight loss.

PositiveTip: Eat more veggies and fruit, and go light on desert and soda to lose weight. 

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Veggies May Lower Risk of Pancreatitis

Two servings of vegetables can reduce pancreatitis risk by 17%.

People who consume the highest number of vegetable servings suffer 45% less risk of developing non-gallstone-related pancreatitis compared to those who eat the least. The protective effect of higher vegetable intake is more pronounced in those who drink more than 1 alcoholic drink per day and those whose BMI is over 25. Swedish researchers followed more than 80,000 participants for an average of 11.1 years to measure these possible effects.

PositiveTip: Your mother was right all along. Eat your vegetables!

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Healthy Habits Reduce Risk Of Cardiovascular, Cancer, And All-Causes Mortality

Healthy Habits Reduce Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease Deaths in Chinese Women By 59%.

The Shanghai Women’s Health Study followed approximately 71,000 Chinese women aged 40-70 for 9 years. Among participants, common lifestyle risk factors of early death included physical inactivity, abdominal obesity, being overweight or obese, exposure to spousal tobacco smoke, and eating few fruits and vegetables. When participants reversed these risk factors, they exhibited a striking life-extending effect, especially in participants with a severe history of chronic disease. Overall, results showed that participants with healthy lifestyle habits reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease by 59%, all causes of mortality by 33%, and cancer by 19%.

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Diet, Exercise, and Weight Are Major Contributors to Health

Lifestyle may reduce risk of early death by 42%.

The Cancer Prevention Study ll Nutrition Cohort shows that  people who maintain a BMI within normal range, exercise 30 or more minutes daily, and eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains exhibit reduced deaths from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all cause mortality. For those who met the criteria above, this study shows reductions of 48%, 30%, and 42% for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all cause mortality in men. For women, the numbers are 58%, 24%, and 42%, respectively.

PositiveTip:  Diet, exercise, and maintaining a normal weight significantly reduce the risk of disease and premature death.


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See a Carrot, Eat a Carrot!

Photos of veggies on lunch trays get kids to eat more.

Almost 37% of elementary students in Minnesota took carrots and 15% helped themselves to green beans when photos of those veggies were placed in the compartments of their trays. This was compared to 12% and 6%, respectively, when there were no pictures on the trays (P=<0.001). While vegetable consumption still remained low, this method increased consumption for a very economical cost ($3.00 per 100 trays).  

PositiveTip: If pictures help, perhaps Mom and Dad modeling enthusiastic and generous vegetable consumption will encourage the kids to eat more!