The clear message from a new study covered in today’s Guardian is EAT MORE VEG!
“Eating at least seven portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day was linked to a 42% lower risk of death from all causes. It was also associated with a 25% lower risk of cancer and 31% lower risk of heart disease or stroke. Vegetables seemed to be significantly more protection against disease than eating fruit”.
Another apparent finding that too much canned fruit is linked to lower life expectancy is acknowledged as somewhat dubious (as there are many other possible causative factors) but certainly fresh or frozen fruit would appear to be the better option generally.
Ok if we’re to accept that the recommended guideline is now 5 veg + 2 fruit a day – the fruit part is easy-peasy but 5 veg?? Looks like we’re going to have to cram in a LOT more – apparently only a quarter of us eat 5 (fruit+veg) a day currently, so that’s a really big jump…
“Juicing is the answer!” I hear you cry.
Sorry to be a party pooper but I just don’t think it’s a valid option, as our digestive systems aren’t really evolved to handle juices with all fibre removed. Soups and smoothies (the latter in moderation) are ok however.
So here are a few of my ideas on how to achieve the 5-veg-a-day target:
1. Try avocado or tomato or other veg on toast in the morning – delicious with plenty of olive oil, pepper and sea salt.
2. Throw some veg into your morning scrambled eggs or omelette.
3. At lunch go veggie – forget the ham and cheese sandwiches which are pretty devoid of nutrients.
4. Bring some carrot sticks or other crudités to work for your elevenses or mid afternoon snack (ok I admit this one might be tough to follow!)
5. Always have at least 2 colourful veg in your dinner – normal potatoes and grains don’t count (in my book) but sweet potatoes do.
6. As a general rule make sure to mix your colours – get plenty of orange, green, purple and red. This guide to veg colours is a very handy reference
7. Eat cruciferous veg every day if you can for their many health benefits. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage etc.
8. Getting your kids to eat veg is a whole other challenge – I usually grate veg finely and add to pasta or rice, or blend in soup. I admit to despairing sometimes – thank goodness baked beans qualify as veg is all I can say.
I hope these ideas are reasonably practical and not too expensive to factor into your family’s daily diet.
Have your say on the matter!