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Fruit, Vegetable ‘Prescriptions’ are Being Added to Treatment Plans

— September 21, 2023

Healthier diet habits can promote optimal heart health, study finds.

Fruit and vegetable “prescriptions” have been gaining attention as a potential way to improve health outcomes. These “prescriptions” are not traditional medications, of course, but rather, a recommendation from healthcare providers for patients to consume a certain amount of fruits and vegetables as part of their treatment plan. The idea is to encourage healthier dietary habits and address nutritional deficiencies, which can contribute to various health issues.

Using “prescriptions” for fruits and vegetables aligns with a broader shift in healthcare paradigms. Rather than solely relying on pharmaceutical interventions, healthcare providers recognize the potential of lifestyle changes, including dietary adjustments, to prevent and manage chronic diseases. Incorporating this approach into clinical practice could lead to more holistic and effective patient care.

The results of the study were promising. Participants who adhered to their fruit and vegetable prescriptions demonstrated significant improvements in various health markers. Notably, many experienced a decrease in body mass index (BMI), a popular measure of body fat. Additionally, positive trends were observed in blood pressure levels and cholesterol profiles among participants.

Fruit, Vegetable 'Prescriptions' are Being Added to Treatment Plans
Photo by Jane Doan from Pexels

Research has suggested that these prescriptions can lead to positive outcomes. Some potential benefits include:

  1. Improved Nutritional Intake: Consuming the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables can be demanding for many people. Prescriptions can help individuals stay motivated and on track.
  2. Reduced Chronic Disease Risk: Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and dietary fiber. They can reduce the threat of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
  3. Weight Management: Fruits and vegetables are often lower in calories and high in water content, making them beneficial for weight management and supporting healthy weight loss.
  4. Better Blood Sugar Control: Consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can assist in managing blood glucose levels and lowering complications for individuals with diabetes.
  5. Improved Digestion: Consuming fruits and vegetables rich in fiber can assist with maintaining healthy digestion and preventing constipation.
  6. Enhanced Overall Well-being: Nutrient-dense diets can increase energy levels and improve mood and well-being.

Moreover, the study addressed economic considerations. Concerns about the affordability of fresh produce are not uncommon, especially in underserved communities. However, the findings indicated that when participants had access to vouchers or discounts for fruits and vegetables, they were more likely to include these items in their diets. This suggests that targeted interventions can overcome financial barriers, potentially making healthy eating more accessible to all socioeconomic groups.

While the study’s outcomes are promising, researchers also acknowledged the need for sustained efforts to promote lasting dietary changes. A short-term intervention, like a prescription for fruits and vegetables, can kickstart healthier habits, but long-term adherence requires ongoing support and resources. This could involve educational programs, cooking workshops, and continued access to affordable produce. 

The study highlights the potential of “prescribing” fruits and vegetables to improve public health. By integrating this approach into healthcare systems, providers can address the growing burden of diet-related diseases and their associated healthcare costs. The positive outcomes observed in this study provide a strong foundation for further research and the potential expansion of similar interventions on a larger scale. Ultimately, the prescription of fruits and vegetables holds the promise of better health and emphasizes the significance of preventive care and the role of nutrition in overall well-being.


Fruit and vegetable “prescriptions” linked to better health and less food insecurity, study finds

Fruit and vegetable ‘prescriptions’ may lead to better heart health

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