This story is part of our #WellnessWednesday series, where we’ll discuss a healthy eating trend and share our favorite places to try it out in Park City. Catch up on previous posts here.
Last time in our Wellness Wednesday series, we talked about what to take out from our diets to clean things up for spring.
This week, let’s talk about what to add in — that’s a lot more fun anyway, right? The number-one food we should all eat more of: fruits and veggies. The USDA advises that we eat two cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of veggies each day. Chances are, you’re not getting quite (or even close to) that amount.
And it’s okay! We don’t want to sound like your mother. But getting more green (and red, orange, yellow and purple) fruits and veggies in your diet IS important. Here are five reasons why.
Fruits and vegetables…
1. Deliver a daily dose of vitamins and minerals
Fruits and veggies are chock-full of readily available vitamins and minerals that support your health in many ways. These nutrients include vitamins A, C, K and the B-complex vitamins, as well as minerals such as potassium and magnesium.
2. Provide antioxidants
A particular plant compound called antioxidants (polyphenols and beta carotene are two examples) are found in fruits and vegetables. These nutrients help fight free radicals that damage cell health. Plus, diets rich in antioxidants are often linked to slower aging and a lower risk of disease.
3. Reduce risk of heart disease
According to several studies, people who eat the most vegetables may have up to a 70 percent lower risk of developing heart disease.
4. Can help you lose weight
Because veggies and fruits have a low caloric density, but are high in volume, they can help you feel full without a ton of calories. They’re also rich in fiber, which has been shown to be effective at reducing appetite. Several studies link increased vegetable intake to weight loss and slower weight gain over time.
5. May prevent certain cancers
Eating your veggies can help prevent certain cancers. Research has shown a link between a higher fiber intake and a lower risk of colorectal cancer. One review linked each portion of vegetables consumed per day to a 50 percent lower risk of oral cancer. Another review observed that smokers who ate the most vegetables benefited from an eight percent lower risk of developing lung cancer, compared to those who ate the least.
How to get your fill
One of the tastiest, and easiest, ways to get lots of green goodness is to “drink” your veggies — in juice or smoothie form. Both are actually healthy, despite the backlash that “juicing” can receive.
The perk of smoothies is that they contain the whole fruits and veggies, blended up. Plus, you can add in healthy extras, such as protein powders, chia seeds and flax seeds. The downside: It’s easy to slurp down way more calories than you realize.
On the positive side, juices deliver a concentrated amount of nutrients from fruits and veggies. Just be sure you’re choosing juices with mostly green leafy veggies, rather than sugar-packed fruits, which can spike your blood sugar.
The best juices and smoothies in Park City
Located at the bottom of Main Street on Park Avenue, the Aussie-inspired cafe, Harvest Park City, offers a new fresh, cold-pressed juice and smoothie of the day. Another Aussie import, Five5eeds, is also known for their tasty juices and smoothies. Their Healthy Green Juice lives up to its name, with kale, pineapple, apple, ginger and coconut water. For something heartier, go for the Hulk Smoothie Bowl, a filling blend of spinach, matcha, banana, mint, dates, cacao, coconut creme, granola and coconut.
Silver Mountain Sports Club, with locations in both Prospector Square and Kimball Junction, serves up a selection of tasty smoothies that are good for post-workout treats or a meal on their own. Our favorite is the Leafy Green, which is a mix of kale, spinach, pineapple, mango, lemongrass and ginger. We like to add the bone broth protein for some extra staying power.
Fairweather Natural Foods also offers an array of blended drinks and juices, made fresh daily. We love to create our juice from the mix of fruits and veggies they have on hand, including carrots, beets, lemon, kale, spinach, parsley, ginger, apple and more.
If you’re really in a rush, swing by Silver King Coffee, a drive-through coffee shop off Kearns. In addition to an array of coffee drinks, they also have tasty bottled green juices by the brand Evolution Fresh that are easy to grab and go!