Harvard Men's Health Watch

Commonsense strategies to help you eat more fruits and vegetables

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Here's how to enhance the foods you already like with heart-healthy plant sources.

According to a recent national food survey by the CDC, 87% of American adults do not eat the minimum daily recommended portions of fruit (1.5 to 2 cups), and 91% are not getting the recommended amount of vegetables (2 to 3 cups a day). The reasons for this unhealthy trend vary. One important factor is that food preferences, including an aversion to fruits and vegetables, form early in life and can be hard to change. "People say, 'I don't like salad' and 'I don't like spinach,' and that's that," says Stacey Nelson, a registered dietitian and manager of clinical nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

But when paired with other, more familiar foods, fruits and vegetables can take on a new allure. "Everyone thinks of a vegetable as a big salad or a steaming mound of cooked vegetable, but these foods are very versatile," Nelson says.

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