Garden Variety For A Healthier Nation

We've all pretty much accepted the advice that eating more fruit and vegetables will make us healthier. But few of us have succeeded at piling half our plates with plant matter at every meal, as recommended by the government health police.

Well, here's some news that might give you the incentive you need to make that change: Agricultural economist Jeffrey O'Hara at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has calculated that if Americans ate the recommended 4 1/2 cups of fruit and vegetables every day, there would be 127,000 fewer deaths from heart disease and stroke and we'd save $17 billion in medical costs.

The UCS, a nonprofit science organization, researches and recommends solutions to environmental and health issues. Their August report, "The $11 Trillion Reward," advocates more government support for fruit and vegetable growers as well as grants and loans for grocery stores, food hubs, and farmers' markets that would make produce more available. See below for their report on a healthier and wealthier nation, and click here for an enlarged version.