If you smoke, or ever spent time smoking, it’s time to boost your color-ic intake.
No, not calories. Colors.
No matter if they’re green and leafy, orange and shredded, or red and crunchy – eating more than the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables could make a difference in whether or not you’ll be diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Fruits and vegetables should comprise about half of your diet, if you follow USDA healthy eating guidelines. And now, Swedish researchers say eating above and beyond the recommended daily amount of fruits and veggies can protect the body from the damaging effects of smoking and significantly reduce the risk of COPD.
They said, compared to those who smoke and eat less than two servings a day, smokers who eat more than five servings of fruits and vegetables a day could reduce the risk of COPD by up to 40%.
Antioxidants: Friendly, nutritious defense
Researchers attribute the reduction in risk to the antioxidants in fruits and vegetables – some of which can prevent heart disease and certain types of cancer.
Each additional serving above the normal recommended amount can reduce the risk of COPD by 8% in current smokers and 4% in former smokers. Quitting smoking is the best way to prevent COPD.
So, living a lifetime of healthy, fruit and vegetable-filled years, is turning out to be a sort of way to prolong your health.
Not only can COPD cost someone their mobility, it can hit in the later part of life, when earnings tend to be higher and the prospect of retirement becomes more real. A chronic, incurable disease like COPD can rock even the best-laid plans for post-work life, and tack on a year in medical expenses – not the kind of retirement anyone plans.
Super-size your produce intake
It’s easy to add color to your life.
Strive for making half of your plate fruits and vegetables. Replace sweets like donuts, cookies and brownies with fresh, frozen, canned or dried fruits. Same with dessert.
If you’re already meeting the recommended half-plate goal, take a few extra steps to replace sugary or processed snacks with fresh, whole fruits and vegetables.
Slice an apple (or your favorite blend of fruits) to snack on when you’re feeling pangs of hunger. Some people like to knock these out in the morning, but you can save them to combat an afternoon sugar craving, too. Bananas are available in virtually every gas station nowadays and are super portable. Boom – that’s at least two servings down!
Next up – get savory. Some people love chomping on raw veggies with a dash of ranch dressing. Prepare two cups of sliced celery, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers – or your favorite veggies – and pack them into your bag with a smaller container of dressing. Now you’ve got four servings down. Great job!
For lunch and dinner, you may want to go for the cooked version of some more veggies, so listen up – it’s so simple to make delicious veggies in little time.
Have you tried any of these tips? Share how you sneak more fruits and veggies into your day.