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posted: 8/26/2013 6:00 AM

Your health: Don't skimp on the fruits and veggies

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  • Working more produce into your daily diet is good for you in many ways.

    Working more produce into your daily diet is good for you in many ways.


Healthy eating tips

Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that are essential for good health. That's one reason why a plant-based diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables can lower your risk of developing life-threatening diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers, says Harvard Medical School.

Dinner is typically the largest meal of the day, and it's a good opportunity to make sure that you meet your daily quota for fruits and vegetables. Here are five easy ways to work more produce into dinner.

Roast vegetables. Roasting is a great way to let the deep, rich flavors of vegetables shine through. Bake cut vegetables at 375 F for 20 to 25 minutes or until they're lightly browned. You can roast any vegetable -- from mushrooms, onions, eggplant and zucchini to tomatoes, broccoli and carrots -- so don't limit yourself.

Poach veggies in low-sodium chicken broth and white wine. To poach, boil enough liquid to cover the vegetables. When it boils, add the vegetables. Turn down the heat to just below boiling and cook the vegetables for about five to seven minutes, until they're brightly colored and tender-crisp.

Smuggle fresh cut vegetables into main dishes. Try adding mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, onions or carrots into pasta sauce, casseroles, soup, stews, scrambled eggs and chili.

Have a salad with dinner most days. Stock your salad with dark green leafy lettuce and toss in petite peas, tomatoes, onions, celery, carrots and peppers. As an added benefit, starting meals with a salad can help you consume fewer calories at the meal, as long as the salad is no more than 100 calories.

Choose fruit for dessert. It all counts toward your daily produce quota.

Mental health help

More than 50 million Americans suffer from mental illness, according to The Washington Post. But only a small percentage of them receive the care they need, according to Lloyd I. Sederer, a psychiatrist and the medical director of New York state's Office of Mental Health.

"An astonishing 80 percent of Americans with treatable mental disorders do not receive proper diagnosis and effective treatment," he writes in "The Family Guide to Mental Health Care."

Sederer says that mental illnesses -- even serious ones such as bipolar disorder, major depression, eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder -- are "quite common and eminently treatable."

The book places the blame for the lack of treatment on what Sederer calls "our broken health care system" and offers a guide through the obstacles that families might face.

It also breaks down a variety of common mental illnesses and advises families on how to navigate the mental health care system. The key to success, the book says, is to not give up; the process can be confusing and difficult, but it's not a lost cause.

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