We all know a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is the foundation for health and should be commonplace in our everyday eating. But are we eating our fruits and vegetables, and how much should we be having?
The most recent Nutrition survey reveals only 7% of adult Australians are actually eating adequate serves of vegetables each day. Research from all around the world validates the benefits of more plant based foods to improve our health and vitality. And now, the latest data fresh from the UK of 95 studies has upped the recommendations even more, concluding that eating 10 serves of fruits and vegetables adds the most value to your health and reducing risks of chronic diseases. In fact, reductions in risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause premature deaths (about 30%) were observed with an intake of up to 10 serves a day (800g), and 13% reduced risk for total cancer with an intake of up to 6 serves a day. Of great interest is the protective effect of apples/pears, citrus fruit, green leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables have on cardiovascular disease and mortality and protective effect of green-yellow vegetables and cruciferous vegetables on reducing risk of cancer.
Benefits of Upping Your Veges
Increasing our consumption of plant based foods has been linked with decreasing risk of colon cancer, maintaining healthy gut bacteria, decreasing obesity and overweight, lowering risk of diabetes and protective for cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. Eating more plant based foods by virtue, encourages us to eat more real, nutritious and wholesome foods that are as close to nature as possible and eating less processed foods that are quite high in added sugars, salt and unhealthy fats.
Fruits and vegetables are very high in minerals, vitamins, phytochemicals, antioxidants and fibre and naturally does not contain fat. It is well documented that all these vital nutrients that are plentiful in fruits and vegetables work in perfect synergy together to improve your health and reduce your risk of disease.
The standout fruits and vegetables that need to be on your plate are …..
- Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, broccolini, baby broccoli) – these veges pack a punch and are associated with decreasing risk of heart disease, cancers and all-cause mortality
- Apples and pears – for reducing risk of heart disease, stroke and all-cause mortality
- Green leafy vegetables and salad greens – for reducing risk of coronary heart disease, cancer and all-cause mortality
- Citrus fruits – were shown to reduce heart disease and all-cause mortality
- Green – yellow vegetables – were shown to reduce risk of cancer
- Berries – were shown to reduce all-cause mortality
What is a serve of fruit and vege?
- a pear, apple or banana
- ½ cup vegetables
- 1 cup salad vegetables
- 1 medium tomato or 6 grape tomatoes
- 2 nobs of sweet potato
- ½ medium potato
- 2 small pieces of stonefruit
- 1 small handful of grapes
- ½ punnet of berries
Aim for 8 – 10 serves of fruit and vegetables each day …… watch out for Rachael’s tasty tips in her upcoming blog.