Are you really getting enough veggies?

13/Oct/2020     Health

Did you know only 4 per cent of Australians are eating the recommended five servings of vegetables every day. This week 12 -18 October is National Nutrition Week which is aimed at raising awareness of the role of food has on our health.

Conjoint Senior Research Dietitian Jennifer Utter said eating more vegetables is one of the most important dietary changes we can make to improve our health and wellbeing.

“Adequate consumption of vegetables contributes to better immunity, improved gut health, and helps protect you from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers,” Jennifer said.  

“Growing evidence also suggests that diets high in vegetables promote better emotional wellbeing and protect against cognitive decline. They are so excellent for weight management due to their low calorie content.

“Vegetables provide an abundance of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, eating a range of vegetables and colours every day is an easy and great strategy to feel good and get the nutritional benefits for your body and mind.”

  • Red vegetables like tomatoes, capsicums and radishes are rich in lycopene and potassium, important for preventing heart disease and some cancers. 
  • Orange and yellow vegetables like carrots, squash and sweet potato are significant sources of carotenoids, all good for boosting immunity and protecting your eyes from age-related decline and blue light exposure. 
  • Dark green vegetables for example kale, broccoli, spinach are rich in Vitamins A, C and K and are an excellent source of folate.
  • Purple and blue vegetables like cabbage, eggplant and beetroot contain anthocyanin which contains antioxidant properties that protect cells from damage and can help reduce the risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease.
  • Brown and white vegetables like garlic, mushrooms and cauliflower contain a range of health-promoting phytochemicals such as allicin which is known for its antiviral and antibacterial properties. Some are also a good source of potassium.

Jennifer shared her top tips on how to incorporate more vegetables into your diet,

  • Include vegetables like spinach, kale or avocado into your morning smoothie.
  • Try to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet, and try for a meat free day each week. 
  • Snack on raw veggies like carrots, celery, beans and snow peas.
  • Ensure 50 per cent of your plate is vegetable at your evening meal.
  • Finally experiment with new vegetables you haven’t tried before to keep things interesting. Season them with fresh herbs and lemon juice.

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