Summer’s fresh bounty and managing chronic disease

Make fruits and vegetables part of your daily meals to better manage your diabetes or other existing chronic disease conditions.

People with diabetes often have increased risk factors serious health conditions including high blood pressure, heart disease and kidney disease. Michigan State University Extension suggests that meals include fruits and vegetables which may help you lower your risk for these diseases, as well as better controlling your diabetes. According to My Plate everyone should make half of their dinner plate fruits and vegetables. However, if you have diabetes, it is recommended to make half your plate low carb veggies and to include a serving of fruit with your meal.

Here are some great reasons to eat fruits and vegetables every day:

  • Low-carb vegetables are mostly water. You can eat larger portions for fewer calories and carbohydrates when you serve them raw or steamed.
  • Fruits and vegetables are a good source of fiber. The fiber in fruits and veggies helps you feel full faster and for longer, and may lower your risk for diabetes and heart disease. Fiber also helps your digestive system stay healthy and regular.
  • Dark green, orange and red fruits and vegetables are good sources of vitamin A. Vitamin A helps with eyesight, good skin health and helps strengthen the immune system.
  • Citrus fruit and dark green veggies (for example, broccoli) are good sources of vitamin C. This vitamin helps heal cuts and bruises, keeps your teeth and gums healthy and helps red blood cells absorb iron.
  • Many fruits and veggies are a good source of potassium. Diets rich in potassium can help lower your blood pressure and your risk for developing kidney stones. Besides dark green vegetables, other veggies and fruits that are good sources of potassium include white and sweet potatoes, lima beans, kidney beans, bananas, prunes, orange juice and cantaloupe.
  • Fruits and veggies are naturally low in sodium and fat and have no cholesterol. Adding salt, fat and sugar can turn a healthy fruit or vegetable into an unhealthy choice.

Make fruits and vegetables a part of every meal. Summer is the perfect time to choose locally grown, fresh fruits and veggies, start at your local farmer’s market. MSU Extension offers an Online Home Food Preservation course so you can preserve fresh fruits and Veggies for future use. You’ll not only be supporting local agriculture, but your own good health. For information on choosing and preparing fruits and vegetables, contact your local MSU Extension office.

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