Produce prescriptions may curb chronic disease

Your doctor called: They want you to eat more fruits and veggies.
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Wellness Wire
In a Nutshell
The town where I live banned chain restaurants back in the '90s. So if you have a hankering for Taco Bell or Carl's Jr., you have to drive a town over to find it. In lieu of these ultra-processed food hubs, mom-and-pop restaurants flourish and a bustling farmers market takes over the town square every Saturday.
It's no coincidence that the people who live in this town are, on the whole, wealthy and healthy. Because research shows that when you have money, you probably have much more access to healthy food than those who don't.
In today's newsletter, we're going to get specific about how this access can make or break your health, plus one way our medical system is responding to these disparities.
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Stay sharp,
Ginger Wojcik
Newsletter Editor, Healthline
  Written by Ginger Wojcik
September 13, 2023 • 3 min read
Doctors are prescribing fruits and veggies for heart health — and it's working
what's got us buzzing
Doctors are prescribing fruits and veggies for heart health — and it's working
The access I have to healthy, minimally processed food is something that millions of people in this country lack. Food deserts are areas with low access to nutritious food, and they're usually concentrated in low income — and historically marginalized — communities. These areas also tend to have higher rates of chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

Over the last decade, some states have launched produce prescription programs aimed at righting these inequities. In these programs, healthcare professionals help people eat more nutritious food by writing prescriptions to eat more fruits and vegetables. They also include a monthly stipend to help with the costs. And according to a new study, it's working.

After 6 months, participants:
  • reduced their body mass index, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels
  • were much more likely to improve their health status (a standardized measurement used in the study) by one level
  • were one-third less likely to report experiencing food insecurity (which includes not having enough nutritious food to meet one's needs)
If you don't have access to fresh produce or it is outside of your budget, one solution may be to buy frozen fruits and vegetables instead. And since most produce is frozen immediately after harvesting, it's pretty much just as nutritious as eating it when it's fresh.
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Take care of yourself, and we'll see
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