After my visit to the Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF) farm and my experience working with dozens of clients who struggle to increase their produce intake, I realized it was time to create a post to clear up the confusion surrounding produce!
Many people become overwhelmed with choices like organic vs. conventional or fresh vs. frozen, and as a result, they end up not consuming enough fruits and vegetables. In this eye-opening blog, we'll uncover five essential facts that will change the way you approach your next trip to the grocery store's produce section.
You don’t have to stress as much about pesticides as you think. Simply washing produce removes pretty much all pesticide residues. On top of that, even if you didn’t wash it, in order for pesticides to have any significant impact on health you would have to consume an insanely large amount. For example, this pesticide calculator from the Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF) shows that a woman could consume 13204 servings of blueberries in one day without any effect even if the blueberries have the highest pesticide residue recorded for blueberries by USDA. Check out the graphic below for even more information.
Consuming more produce may improve your mood. Interestingly, research shows that an increased consumption of fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of depression. While the exact process remains somewhat unclear, a diet abundant in antioxidants might aid in the control of inflammation linked to depression and various mood-related conditions.
Most American don’t get enough produce.According to the Centers for Disease Control, only one in 10 Americans consumes enough produce each day. The CDC recommends that adults consume 1.5–2 cups of fruit and 2–3 cups of vegetables daily. Therefore, you can worry less about choosing between organic and conventional options and simply incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your daily diet. You can easily increase your daily produce intake by blending frozen fruits and vegetables into a smoothie, substituting chips with carrots or celery, and incorporating fruit into your favorite desserts.
4. Research shows more fruit and veggie consumption improves heart health. A new peer reviewed research study found that when doctors and health-care providers “prescribed” fruits and vegetables, patients ate more produce, lost weight and experienced significant reductions in blood pressure. In the study Medicare and Medicaid covered the cost of 30% of fruits and vegetables and subsequently found that increasing fruit and veggies consumption through these “prescriptions” would prevent 1.93 million cardiovascular events and 350,000 deaths, as well as cut healthcare costs by $40 billion.
5. Produce doesn’t have to be fresh. A barrier for many people when buying produce is the belief that it isn't 'worth it' unless it's fresh. However, the truth is that ALL produce is beneficial. In fact, frozen produce may have higher nutrient quality because it's picked at peak ripeness and frozen right away. Canned produce is also budget-friendly and has a longer shelf life.
So, the next time you hit the grocery store, remember these five facts about produce shopping. Whether you choose organic, conventional, fresh, frozen, or canned, increasing your fruit and veggie intake can not only benefit your health but also your mood and overall well-being.