By Dr Megan Chircop
Although 5 serves of vegetables and legumes is the recommended daily intake, this is the minimum requirement (for kids over 4 years and adults). We should be aiming to eat more than this. I think we all know why...because vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants, which are all essential for keep our minds and bodies working at optimal capacity on a day-to-day basis, but also to reduce our risk of chronic diseases in the future. By increasing your vegetable intake you can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and many cancers, which are leading causes of morbidity and mortality, especially in the Western world.
Some of the world’s most widespread and debilitating nutritional disorders, including birth defects, mental and physical retardation, weakened immune systems, blindness, and even death, are caused by diets lacking in vitamins and minerals due to poor/insufficient vegetable intake.
WHAT TO DO?
* Start with substituting one of your 'junk food' snacks for a serve of vegetables or legumes. Gradually increase this to substitute all 'junk food' snacks for vegetables. Only occassionally having a 'treat' (perhaps once a week rather than every day). Not only will this improve your health, but you will be consuming less calories (help you lose weight). Vegetables also keep you satisfied due to their high water and fibre content. They will also not induce an insulin spike like foods that are high in sugar (low GI). The later will only cause you to search the pantry once again (wanting more sugar) once the sugar-high has worn off.
* Eat a variety of vegetables every day. This exposes us to a wide range of nutrients for better overall health. The best way to do this is to eat the 'vegetable rainbow', i.e. eat vegetables that are different colours because each offers their own unique set of 'phytochemicals' or health-promoting properties. This also gives different vegetables their unique smell, and flavour.
At Body Sculptors Australia we have developed recipes that incorporate vegetables in creative ways so that meals are not only nutritous but importantly delicious.
The vegetables are sometimes 'hidden' (great for kids).
Sign up for one of our meal plans to get recipes that can help you incorporate 5 serves of vegetables in to your diet for improved health - you will feel lighter, healthier and happier.
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