Strawberries for good health | Gardening

Diet and good health are closely linked with numerous studies showing that eating patterns that include lots of fruits and vegetables lead to better health. If you can’t get them from your own garden, it is recommended to buy fruits and vegetables that are in season to get the most nutritional benefits. You can also use them frozen or canned, as they retain many of the nutrients and beneficial plant compounds. Research at the University of Alaska Fairbanks has shown that berries, fresh or frozen or prepared as jam or fruit skin, are all sources of nutrition.

Whether fresh, frozen, or canned, whatever suits your budget and cooking style, adults should aim to consume about 1 ½ cups of fruit and 2-3 cups of vegetables per day. Currently in the US, only 10 to 12 percent of adults meet the guidelines, and even fewer children receive the recommended amounts.

Leslie Shallcross is a registered dietitian and Cooperative Extension Service Tanana District Health, Home and Family Development Agent.