How many servings of fruits and vegetables are you eating each day? If you answered 5, then you are right on target and may potentially be increasing your lifespan! What exactly does a serving look like? For fruits, one serving is equal to 2 Tbsp of dried fruit, about 1 Cup of raw fruit or about a baseball sized round fruit. For vegetables, one serving is equal to ½ Cup cooked, 1 Cup raw or 2 Cups of leafy green vegetables. While fruit juices may provide some vitamins and minerals, they also dense in sugar and calories. Be sure to eat your fruits rather than drinking them. This will allow you to reap the benefits of their fiber content. Or make your own smoothie which helps to retain the pulp and fiber.

Trying to reduce your sodium intake? If you are heavy handed with the salt shaker, this is a good place to start. Just 1 teaspoon of table salt has about 2400mg of salt. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend 2400mg of sodium daily and 1500mg daily if you have hypertension or high blood pressure. Unfortunately, most processed foods utilize salt as a preservative. So, not only do you have to be careful about adding salt to your food, but also the sodium content which is already in the food you eat. Your best bet is to try and eat foods that are naturally free of sodium and preservatives such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Frozen fruits and vegetables are also a good choice as they will not have added salt (unless they come pre-seasoned or in a sauce). Canned foods are typically high in salt, but you can find reduced sodium version and even salt-free options as well such as no salt added canned diced tomatoes. Reducing your sodium intake can have positive effects on your blood pressure and heart health. Try these tips to help manage your salt intake:

  • Avoid adding salt to foods, use seasonings and spices instead. Try things such as garlic powder vs garlic salt, which provides all of the flavor without the sodium.
  • Use reduced-sodium, low-sodium or salt-free canned foods. If you can’t find the salt- free versions, be sure to rinse and strain things such as canned beans to help reduce sodium content.
  • Choose fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables.
  • Rice is naturally salt free, so make your own and add your own seasonings instead of buying the prepackaged options. 
  • Ask the deli counter for low-sodium versions of your favorite deli meats and cheeses.
  • Keep the salt shaker off of the table.

For more information, visit the American Heart Association.

Everyone has heard the old adage of “8 glasses a day”. This statement is a myth, but believe or not is not that far off from the truth. The current fluid recommendations for adults is about 91 fl oz for women and 125 fl oz for men. This may seem like a lot, but this is before factoring out about 20% coming from food, which would leave us with 72 fl oz for women and 100 fl oz for men. This means that females need to drink about 9 cups and men about 12.5 cups daily to meet their needs. Though fluids such as coffee, tea and milk do contribute to your total intake, try to stick to good old water to meet most of your needs. Foods such as fruits and vegetables are rich in many nutrients, including water, so be sure to get your 5 servings in each day! 

Looking for some ways to bring some life to your glass of water? Try infusing it with fruit or use calorie-free carbonated seltzer water with a splash of lemon or lime juice for a refreshing twist.

Lemon, Cucumber and Mint Infused Water

  • 1 Lemon
  • ½ Cucumber
  • Fresh mint
  • 1 Pitcher of water

Slice up 1 lemon, ½ cucumber and place in a pitcher of ice cold water. Include some fresh mint for a cool refreshing drink.