National Nutrition Month — Let’s Veggie Up

Carol’s Great Day Houston Segment: National Nutrition Month

With 60 – 70 different vegetables available in most of the larger grocery stores, you will find plenty of produce to like.  This is the 40th anniversary of National Nutrition Month, started by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) in 1973.

National Nutrition Month 

A number of nutrition campaigns over the past 5 – 7 years have pushed for more produce on the plate to help combat obesity and get better nutrition into the diets of Americans.

Thanks to programs like “Kids Eat Right” and the First Lady’s “Let’s Get Moving” campaign, both children and adults are eating more veggies. The results can be seen in states like Mississippi, where 40% of the population was obese. But because the citizens embraced these campaigns, they have see a reduction in obesity by 13.3%.

Other noteworthy results:

  • According to the Center for Disease Control, 2011 saw an 11% reduction in daily calories for Americans because they ate less fast food and added healthier food choices to their diets.
  • Resent studies show a leveling off of obesity, resulting from the selection of more fresh produce and less highly processed foods.
  • According to a recent article in the Washington Post, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation found: 70% of those surveyed said they had bought fresh produce from a farmers’ market in the past year. Also, more than 68% said they ate more whole grains, fruits and vegetables than they did 5 years ago.

Tips for cooking:

  • Heat causes some vitamin C in foods to decompose.
  • Temperatures below boiling improves the bioavailability of beta-carotene (vitamin A).
  • Canning causes the loss of some vitamins, especially vitamin A.
  • Cooking significantly improves digestibility/bioavailability of starchy foods, such as tubers (potatoes, etc.), squashes, grains and legumes (dried beans, soy nuts, peanuts, peas).

Another Great Reason for Including More Plant Foods — Phytochemicals (chemicals in food that help fight disease)

*Phytochemicals: (1) inhibit hormone-dependent steps in tumor formation and protect genetic material from carcinogenic agents (2) suppress free radical production (3) act as bulking agents to dilute carcinogens and decrease gastrointestinal time (4) stimulate physiologically active anticancer enzymes.

Some of the Most Common Studied Phytochemicals (over 3,000 have been studied):



Allium vegetables (garlic & onions)

Allyl Sulfites

Cruciferous Vegetables


Solaneceous Vegetables  (peppers, eggplant, tomatoes)


Herbs, Spices


Carotenoid rich foods  (carrots, spinach, kale turnip greens)


So enjoy several cups of vegetables a day along with healthy fats — like olive oil, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, lean protein and low-fat dairy foods. Make every month good full of good nutrition!

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