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Senior Wellness: I don't want to eat my vegetables!

Even when you get older, you still have to eat your vegetables.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - No matter how old you are, if you don't like your veggies, it can be hard to make yourself eat them. That doesn't mean that as an adult you get a pass because your parents aren't forcing you to eat green beans anymore. Vegetables are just as important for adults as to kids, but most adults aren't eating enough fruits and veggies every day.

The average adult should be eating between 2 and 2.5 cups of fruits and the same amount of vegetables every day. An easy way to help yourself think about that is to make sure your plate looks like a rainbow. The colorful fruits and vegetables will help you become full faster, and are full of vitamins and minerals your body needs to function. They also are full of water and fiber. That's why we benefit more from eating the whole fruit or vegetable rather than just the juice.

Recent research has shown vegetables and fruit are also good for our brain. They can help protect against cognitive decline and other similar and related conditions.

So, what are these vitamins we mentioned, what do they do, and how can you get them?

Vitamin A: Important for vision, immune system, helps heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs work

  • Bright orange vegetables like pumpkin, sweet potatoes, carrots
  • Dark leafy vegetables like spinach, collard greens, kale, romaine lettuce, etc.

Vitamin C: Important for immune system, helps break down protein, iron absorption, and production of collagen

  • Citrus fruits like oranges, kiwi, strawberries, guava, papaya, and cantaloupe
  • Vegetables like broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, turnip greens, romaine lettuce and spinach

Folate (Vitamin B-9): Important for the production of red blood cells and repair DNA

  • Dry beans and peas
  • Oranges and orange juice
  • Deep green leaves like spinach and mustard greens
  • Asparagus

Potassium: Important for regulating water in and out of our cells and the healthy function of our cells, tissues, and organs.

  • White and sweet potatoes, winter squash
  • Bananas, oranges/orange juice, cantaloupe, honeydew melons, and many dried fruits
  • Tomato products
  • Beet greens and spinach

Porter Hills is resource for seniors living in West Michigan.

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