When it comes to loading your plate, fruit and vegetables are where it’s at. Not only are they low in calories and high in fiber and antioxidants, they can also help keep blood pressure in check. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke. What makes fruits and vegetables so good? They are packed with potassium, a mineral that has been shown to lower blood pressure in clinical studies.
Aim for 4,700 milligrams of potassium every day for good blood pressure. That’s at least 2 cups of fruit and 3 cups of vegetables daily.
Do you wonder how many vegetables and fruits you should eat at a meal? Look at your plate. Vegetables and fruits should fill up half the dish.
There are so many choices—citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits; different kinds of berries; fruits that grow on trees such as apricots, cherries, peaches, and mangoes; and others like figs, raisins, and pineapple.
Try some fruits that you haven’t eaten before. Fruits with skins like apples and pears provide extra fiber that promotes regularity.
Here at the Villas, we are making this happen!
- Many fruits taste great with a dip or dressing. We try fat-free or low-fat yogurt as a dip for fruits like strawberries or melons.
- We are making fruit smoothies by blending fat-free or low-fat milk or yogurt with fresh fruit. You should try the ones with bananas, peaches, strawberries, or other berries. We make “ice cubes” from the juices and fruit waters to add a little extra.
- We are using unsweetened applesauce as a lower calorie substitute for some of the oil when we bake cakes.
- You can try different textures of fruits. For example, apples are crunchy, bananas are smooth and creamy, and oranges are juicy.
- For fresh fruit salads, we mix apples, bananas, or pears with acidic fruits like oranges, pineapple, or lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.