LANSING, Mich., Oct. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Just four fruits – oranges, bananas, apples and watermelons – account for nearly half of America's fruit intake (for adolescents and adults). (1) Eating a variety of rich-colored fruits is essential to an overall healthful diet, but most Americans are falling far short of the daily recommended consumption of fruit. Only one in five Americans is currently getting the recommended 1 to 2 cups of fruit each day (depending on age, sex and physical activity level).(2) In fact, Americans only average 42 percent of the recommended fruit, so the gap is significant.
"It's challenging to get the recommended amount of fruit, and a variety of fruit, so finding new ways to incorporate fruit in your daily eating plan is key to fighting what I call 'Fruit Fatigue,'" said Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, author of a new book, MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better. "The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the USDA's MyPlate icon encourage Americans to 'make half their plate fruits and vegetables,' and to do that we need to think about variety, taste and form when focused on fruit."
Tart cherries – one of today's hottest Super Fruits – can be a powerful way to add variety, flavor and unique health benefits to a daily menu and help beat America's "Fruit Fatigue."
A Versatile Super Fruit
Fruit provides a number of benefits to the daily diet – from contributing important nutrients, to reducing risk factors for many diseases, to aiding in weight management – yet people cite numerous barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption. These include limited access to fresh produce, lack of prep time or energy to plan, inconvenience and high spoilage of fresh fruits and vegetables, among other factors.(3) According to Ward, buying fruits in multiple forms, like tart cherries – which are available dried, frozen or as juice year-round – can help ensure that you'll always have a supply on hand.
Go Red Instead for Taste and Health
Most importantly, taste remains the top driver of America's food decisions, making it essential to find great-tasting fruit options. Eighty-seven percent of Americans name taste as the top consideration for food purchase, according to the IFIC Foundation 2011 Food & Health Survey: Consumer Attitudes Toward Food Safety, Nutrition & Health. And, new/unique flavors and flavor combinations are in demand, driving three-quarters (75%) of the best-selling new foods and beverages introduced in 2010-11.(4)
Tart cherries have a unique sweet-tart taste that can help fight America's "Fruit Fatigue" beyond the current top four picks. Ward says cherries' taste profile and year-round availability make them a versatile ingredient that works for any meal or snack occasion. Ward says one of her favorite meals for lunch or dinner is the Farro Salad with Roasted Asparagus and Dried Cherries – a recipe featured in her book.
Powerful antioxidants in tart cherries have been linked to anti-inflammatory benefits, and they're also a good source of much-needed potassium – one of the "nutrients of concern" identified in the Dietary Guidelines.
"As a dietitian whose goal is to help improve America's health and nutrition, I know that people need a variety of fruit every day, but getting the fruit they need should be easy, like choosing tart cherries."
Visit www.choosecherries.com or facebook.com/choosecherries for tips on ways to boost your fruit intake with tart cherries.
The Cherry Marketing Institute (CMI) is an organization funded by North American tart cherry growers and processors. CMI's mission is to increase the demand for tart cherries through promotion, market expansion, product development and research. For more information on the science supporting the unique health benefits of cherries and for cherry recipes and menu ideas, visit www.choosecherries.com.
The Cherry Marketing Institute is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion or disability.
- Kimmons J, Gillepsie C, Seymour J, Serdula M, Blanck HM. Fruit and vegetable intake among adolescents and adults in the United States: Percentage meeting individualized recommendations. Medscape Journal of Medicine. 2009;11:26
- Krebs-Smith SM, Guenther PM, Subar AF, Kirkpatrick SI, Dodd KW. Americans do not meet federal dietary recommendations. Journal of Nutrition. 2010; 140: 1832-1838.
- Yeh MC, Ickes SB, Lowenstein LM, Shuval K, Ammerman AS, Farris R, Katz DL. Understanding barriers and facilitators of fruit and vegetable consumption among a diverse multi-ethnic population in the USA. Health Promotion International. 2008; 23:42-51.
- SymphonyIRI, 2011. New Product Pacesetters: Carving Out Growth in a Down Economy, Times & Trends March. Chicago, IL. www.infores.com
SOURCE Cherry Marketing Institute