Do you eat at least five vegetable servings a day? If you’re like most people, you probably fall short of this recommended dietary intake of veggies. Maybe you are too busy to prepare that many vegetables. Or maybe you simply don’t remember to eat five servings. It could be that you don’t really like vegetables all that much. Whatever the reason for not keeping up, you may be short-changing yourself in getting some vital nutrients that could protect you from illness. It’s been proven time and again that vegetables are an excellent food cure. What to do? Well — here’s a solution for you: drink some vegetable juice.
This nutritional advice comes courtesy of a research team from the Department of Nutrition at the University of California. The researchers noted that vegetable consumption in the United States has declined over the past decade and, consequently, the gap between dietary recommendations and vegetable intake is widening. They devised a study to determine if drinking vegetable juice is a practical way to help meet daily dietary recommendations for veggie intake. They also wanted to investigate the effect of a vegetable juice on measures of cardiovascular health.
The clinical trial was a 12-week study consisting of three groups of healthy volunteers. All the volunteers received education on the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet and 0, eight or 16 fluid ounces of vegetable juice daily. Assessments were completed of daily vegetable servings before and after the addition of vegetable juice. Cardiovascular health parameters were measured, including blood pressure.
The researchers found some revealing results: without the juice, vegetable intake in all groups was lower than the 2005 Dietary Guidelines and DASH diet recommendations. However, the consumption of the vegetable juice helped participants reach recommended intake.
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The researchers also discovered that volunteers who were pre-hypertensive at the start of the study showed a significant decrease in blood pressure during the 12-week intervention period. They concluded that including one to two cups of vegetable juice daily was an effective and acceptable way for healthy adults to close the dietary vegetable gap.
It used to be that you could only find tomato juice at the grocery store, but that has all changed in recent years. Most food stores now have a selection of vegetable juices, including carrot, beet, celery, and other delicious combinations. Take one with you in the morning to drink at lunch or grab one on the go from your favorite smoothie/juice counter.