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Nutrition

Fruit, Fruit and More Fruit


Americans may be able to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease by doubling their daily fruit consumption, according to a study published in October 1999 issue of Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

"Eight out of 10 Americans are getting less than half of what they need to protect them," explained study lead author Charlene Rainey, Nutrition Research Group. "Fruits have a powerful effect in reducing the levels of oxidative stress within cells — lowering risk of cancer and heart disease — but children need two daily servings, women three and men four to provide this protection."

Highlights from the study revealed:

  • Men ages 15-50 eat about 1.4 servings of fruit a day (need four);

  • Women ages 15-50 eat about 1.2 servings of fruit a day (need three);

  • Children ages 7-10 eat about 1.6 servings of fruit a day (need two);

  • Sixty-six percent of Americans' fruit intake comes from only eight sources: apples (including juice), bananas, oranges (including juice), cantaloupe, watermelon and grapes;

  • Americans eat the least amount of fruit between October and March (An additional study from USC found deaths from heart attacks peak in December and January).

"Consumers should know about the year-round availability of fruits that taste great, especially during winter when the serving deficit is highest," said CFFA Vice President Curtis Granger.

"Optimum health and prevention of diet-related disease is a numbers game. If you aren't getting enough fruit, you aren't getting enough protection," said Rainey.


© 2001 Health Resources Publishing