Fruits and Vegetables and Cancer Prevention | Are You Meeting Your Needs?

by Natalie

You may have noticed that I like to talk about fruits and vegetables. I feel like a broken record most of the time, repeating my mantra about eating these important foods.

Well one day it occurred to me that I have never checked to see if I am eating the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables for cancer prevention. Here I am harping on everyone else and I have no idea if I can even meet the requirements! I thought it was about time to conduct a little experiment on myself.

For five days I recorded, in cups, the amount of fruits and vegetables I ate each day. I compared the results to the recommended guidelines of fruit and vegetable intake for cancer prevention, which is 5 cups or 600 gm of fruit and vegetables per day.

I mostly used estimations to measure my intake. The Fruits and Veggies Matter website has a helpful chart to determine what 1 cup looks like. In general, 8 oz of 100% juice, 1 cup cooked or raw vegetables, 2 cups of raw leafy greens and 1 cup cooked leafy greens, are all equal to a 1 cup measurement. When I was out to eat, I used my hand to help me measure. A closed fist is approximately one cup.

I must say I was a little surprised by the results, but before I get into all that, let me show them to you.

The Results

Day 1

  • ½ banana (1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 c blueberries
  • 1 peach ( 1 cup)
  • 1 tomato (1 cup)
  • Indian food (cabbage, greens, cucumber salad) estimated about 2 cups of cooked and raw veg

Total amount of fruits and vegetables = 4.75 cup

Day 2

  • 1/2 banana (1/2 cup)
  • 3/4 c blueberries
  • 1 cup romaine salad (counts as 1/2 cup)
  • Large strawberry, spinach salad (about 3 cups lettuce which counts as 1.5 cups , 1 cup assorted veg and fruit)

Total amount of fruits and vegetables = 4.25 cups

Day 3

  • Fruit and vegetable smoothie (2 cups)
  • 3 cups romaine salad (counts as 1.5 cups)
  • 1 carrot (counts as 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 banana (counts as 1/2 cup)
  • Vegetable chili (est about 1/2 cup cooked vegetables)

Total amount of fruit and vegetables = 5 cups

Day 4

  • 1 1/4 banana (1.25 cups)
  • 1/2 c blueberries (1/2 cup)
  • 1 ear corn (1 cup)
  • 2 small tomatoes (1 cup)
  • 1 cup lettuce (counts as .5 cup)
  • 1/2 C pineapple (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 C strawberries (1/2 cup)

Total amount of fruit and vegetables = 5.25 cups

Day 5

  • 1/2 banana (1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup blueberries (1/4 cup)
  • 1 ear corn (1 cup)
  • Cooked Kale (3 cups)
  • 1/2 apple (1/2 cup)
  • 1 C melon (1 cup)
  • 1/4 C cucumber (1/4 cup)

Total amount of fruit and vegetables = 6.5 Cups

As I elluded to previously, I was really surprised by my results. In my head, I was a superstar fruit and vegetable eater! I thought I was going to see results super sky high around the 10 cup range. While my results were certainly not bad, they were just not what I expected. Its funny how your mind sometimes portrays things better than they really are.

I noticed a few more important things worth mentioning. On the days I ate a salad or a smoothie, my intake was the highest. These meal ideas make eating more fruits and vegetables a lot easier.

Measuring your fruit and vegetable intake is a great way to start eating more healthy. Each day I was focused on getting more fruits and vegetables. I don’t think it was coincidental that the last two days had the highest amount recorded, I think the experiment encouraged me to eat more!

Overall, I really enjoyed conducting this little self experiment. It took little to no time, was informative and encouraging.

How do you match up? I challenge you to conduct this experiment on your own. Maybe it will give you the motivation to start eating more healthy foods!

Tell me what you think. Leave a comment in the comments section below. Or better yet, if you complete the experiment on your own, let me know what happened.

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Photo by Erix

{ 2 comments }

Cara September 1, 2011 at 4:35 pm

What a great idea! I also consider myself a great veggie and fruit eater. I’m going to give this experiment a try and see what I find…I’ll let you know 🙂

Natalie September 6, 2011 at 9:01 am

Good luck! Would love to hear how it goes.

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