Eating more fruits and vegetables may lead to sustained healthier habits


It's almost June, which means you have a little more than six months to finally complete that New Year's weight loss resolution. Now a study offers two simple changes that may help you reach your goal: Stop sitting in front of the television and start eating more fruits and vegetables.

While these health tips might seem obvious, it's their long-term sustainability that has scientists praising their virtues. According to the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine study published in the May 28 issue ofArchives of Internal Medicine, by making these adjustments you'll be more likely to maintain these habits to lead a healthier lifestyle.

"Just making two lifestyle changes has a big overall effect and people don't get overwhelmed," Dr. Bonnie Spring, a professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said in apress release. "Americans have all these unhealthy behaviors that put them at high risk for heart disease and cancer, but it is hard for them and their doctors to know where to begin to change those unhealthy habits," Spring said. "This approach simplifies it."

In the study, 204 adult patients between the ages of 21 to 60 with elevated saturated fat and low fruit and vegetable intake, high sedentary leisure time and low physical activity were placed in one of four treatment categories. One group had to increase fruit and vegetable intake, another had to decrease fat and sedentary leisure, yet another decrease fat and increase physical activity (otherwise known as traditional dieting) and the last group had to increase fruit/vegetable intake and decrease sedentary leisure. Patients had to record their daily results for three weeks and were coached remotely through mobile technology. If the patients met their goals and displayed healthy lifestyle changes, they would receive $175.

On average, daily fruit and vegetable intake increased from 1.2 servings to 5.5 servings, sedentary leisure time decreased from 219.2 minutes per day to 89.3 minutes, and daily saturated fat decreased from 12.0 percent to 9.5 percent of calories consumed. The group that participated in traditional dieting reported fewer improvements than the other groups.

Then, the participants were given the option of continuing to report their lifestyle. They did not have to keep up with the dietary or exercise recommendations and would receive monthly payments just for turning in their data three times each month for six months.

Ninety-eight percent of the test subjects opted to continue with the second 20-week phase of the study. Out of the 185 people who continued on, 86.5 percent said they tried to "definitely" or "somewhat" maintain what they did in the three-week treatment period even without the financial or mobile encouragement.

What's even more surprising is they seemed to maintain the healthy habits of eating more fruits and vegetables and decreasing sedentary activity without receiving any financial incentive to do so. Though the patients did not increase their healthy behaviors in the six month follow-up, they made "substantial" improvements in watching less television and eating more vegetables compared with their rates when the study started. It is worth noting, however, that those who traditionally dieted for the most part did not carry healthy habits through the second part of the experiment, especially when it came to increasing physical activity.

"We said we hope you'll continue to keep up these healthy changes, but you no longer have to keep them up to be compensated," Spring said. "We thought they'd do it while we were paying them, but the minute we stopped they'd go back to their bad habits," she said. "But they continued to maintain a large improvement in their health behaviors."

The results suggest that even a short period of encouraging healthy lifestyles through coaching and incentives may have a lasting effect. Considering that according to theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of U.S. adults - 35.7 percent - are obese, and obesity has been linked to heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, taking these simple steps could make a big difference.

What Olympic athletes REALLY eat (Lots of red meat, fruit... but also rich desserts)

While most Olympic athletes people see on television appear trim and often even slim, the road to the Games for many of them is paved with a stunning quantity of food rich in proteins and carbohydrates.

Turkish javelin thrower Fatih Avan says he is mindful of what he puts in his stomach while training for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

‘I may have become an elite athlete with my good performances but I can only be a great athlete if I can win an Olympic medal,’ he said.

Massive meal: Turkish javelin thrower Fatih Avan, 23, has a nutritional program that gives him a daily intake of 3,500 calories.

Artist uses fruit and veg from his local greengrocer to re-create famous masterpieces

At dinner tables across the country, mothers constantly tell their children: ‘Don’t play with your food!’ But for artist Alon Zaid, the habit has produced the most spud-tacular results.
The 60-year-old has recreated some of the world’s most well-known masterpieces using fruit and veg from his local greengrocer.
He sliced and diced vegetables including potatoes, cabbage, broccoli and aubergine and arranged them to look like the Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci.

Interesting Fruit Facts

Avocados have the highest calories of any fruit at 167 calories per hundred grams.
Apples contain an antioxidant that fights cancer .
The banana plant is in the same family as the lily and the orchid.
A medium-sized orange contains the amount of vitamin C that a healthy adult should eat daily.
Olive trees can live for more than 1,500 years.

Eat a variety of colours of fruit

Eating fruits and vegetables of a variety of different colors can give you the best all-round health benefits; each contains a distinctive blend of super nutrients that are fantastic for our well-being.

Eat Fruit To Help Stop Smoking

People wanting to kick the habit are three times more likely to succeed if they eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, a study shows.

Smokers with higher fruit and vegetable consumption also smoked fewer cigarettes per day, waited longer to smoke in the mornings and scored lower in nicotine dependence tests.

20 More Fruits You Probably Don’t Know

I love fruit and I clearly just can’t get enough of them. When I try to imagine what one of these odd fruits taste like, it’s almost like trying to imagine a new color. I just can’t seem to wrap my mind around something I have never experienced, but that does not mean that I won’t try to experience as many as I possibly can in my lifetime. So, on account of all the omissions that were listed on the previous top 20 fruits you probably don’t know, I decided to include them and make the rest of the entries a bit more global. There are hundreds of fruits out there, but as I can’t carry on writing lists about all of them, I have settled for a few that I had never heard of and found interesting. Once again, I have not written this list in any special order, but decided on giving the number 1 spot to the most repeated omission.

A Few Interesting Fruit Facts

Avocados have the highest calories of any fruit at 167 calories per hundred grams.
Apples contain an antioxidant that fights cancer .
The banana plant is in the same family as the lily and the orchid.
A medium-sized orange contains the amount of vitamin C that a healthy adult should eat daily.

Fruit Myths

“If I drink one glass of apple juice and one glass of orange juice that counts 2 servings of fruit” – A glass (200ml) of 100% fruit juice only counts once towards the 5-A-DAY target for fruit and vegetables, regardless of how much you drink – this is because fruit juice has very little fibre.

Top 20 Fruits you probably dont know!!

I was playing a game the other day, in which you have to come up with fruit that starts with every letter of the alphabet. Apple, banana, cherry…. and that is about where I hit a blank. My epic failure at this game made me do some research and what I discovered was a whole world of delicious looking fruit that I had never even known about! I was completely shocked to find that there are actually hundreds of different types of fruit (no need to include them all as omissions in the comments), most of which I had never even heard of. This list is not to rank the fruit, but rather just to inform you about them. The only fruit on this list I consider ranked is No: 1, as it deserves the spot, in clearly being the coolest fruit on the planet. How many of these exotically delicious fruit have you tried?