An Easy Way to Double Your Vegetable Intake
January 24, 2009
In a new study, women more than doubled their fruit and vegetable intakes and dramatically increased their consumption of "good" fats when they were counseled by registered dietitians and provided with a list of nutritional guidelines reflecting the traditional Mediterranean diet.
The six-month study divided 69 women into two groups. Women in one group continued their usual diet and did not receive any dietary counseling. In the other group, registered dietitians used an "exchange list" of foods that are common in a Mediterranean diet to make a plan for each participant. The list included suggested servings of several categories of foods, such as dark green vegetables.
The group that followed the exchange-list plan reached their nutritional goals within three months, and maintained the change for the six-month duration of the study. The comparison group, however, made few dietary changes.
The Mediterranean diet has been associated with health benefits such as lower risks for cardiovascular disease and cancer. Recent studies also have suggested that such a diet can increase longevity.