Remember when your mom used to pester you to eat your fruits and vegetables? She knew what she was talking about. It also turns out that growing them yourself can be good therapy especially as we age.
Jim Peacock has lived at the Avera Prince of Peace Retirement Community in Sioux Falls for 12 years. The 87 year old and his wife actually started the community garden when he moved in and although some health concerns this year have kept him from working the little plot of land, he says he sure enjoyed the fruits of his labor.
Peacock says, "It was good to get me out. When the weather is hot I would have to come out early in the morning because I had no business being out there when it was real hot. It kept me busy. You'd have to keep after the weeds all the time. It was as good a therapy as you'd want." A delicious therapy. Tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, peppers and onions were all favorites right off the vine and out of the ground.
Megan Israelson is a dietitian with Avera and she consults at the HyVee grocery store on 26th and Marion in Sioux Falls. She says, "Eat the colors of the rainbow. That's the important thing to remember."
She says while homegrown fruits and vegetables are great not everyone has a garden to grow them. Getting them off the shelf or out of a bag or in a can is just fine. Just make sure to eat them! She says, " There are lots of benefits to eating your fruits and vegetables. Vegetables have potassium, fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C. It's important to eat a wide variety because the different colors of fruits and vegetables means different nutrients. Like watermelon and red tomatoes have lycopene."
As for Mr. Peacock, he says he's just glad to have such a tasty backyard. Israelson says go for the berries for anti-oxidants. She also says we all need to eat more fiber in our diets so eat the peels on your potatoes and apples.
If you have questions call 877-at-AVERA or visit www.avera.org