The Fruit And Vegetables Lesson
As you are probably aware there are many benefits to eating fruit and vegetables, especially when eaten in reasonable quantity.
Topic 1: Benefits Of Vegetables And Fruits
Eating more vegetables and fruit is necessary for the prevention of malnutrition and nutrient deficiencies associated with low vitamin intake. In addition the phytonutrients in these foods reduces the risk of many cancers, diabetes, and heart disease, while antioxidants reduce free radical damage.
The strong alkaline potential balances the strong acid environment created by meats and grains, important for prevention of osteoporosis.
Higher intakes of fibre, found in vegetables and fruit, are associated with better blood sugar control, reduced appetite and digestive health.
Importantly, getting nutrients from whole vegetables and fruit are shown to be more beneficial than those gained from supplements.
Topic 2: Serving Size And Daily Recommendations
While you may well have been told about the “5 a day” recommended by the government, this arbitrary figure is actually based on quantities needed for the prevention of medical illness not optimal health. This would require 8 to 12 servings, not 5.
That said if you do struggle eating vegetables and fruit start slow and build up over time.
- 1 medium-sized fruit
- ½ cup raw fruit or raw/cooked vegetables
- 1 cup of leafy vegetables
Aim for at least 2 servings with each meal. So these servings may look like:
- 1 Apple
- ½ cup pineapple
- 1 cup of frozen berries
- 1 cup of spinach
- 1 tomato
- 1 avocado
In context of meals this may be:
- 1 cup of mix peppers, ½ cup of onions, ½ cup of mushrooms with breakfast omelette
- ½ cup of pineapple with morning snack
- 1 cup of spinach, 1 tomato, ½ avocado with lunch salad
- 1 cup of berries mixed in afternoon SuperShake
- ½ avocado with dinner
If you are after weight loss, aim for more nutrient dense food and less calorie dense. Typically this is a ratio of five vegetables to one fruit.
If your goal is muscle gain or performance, aim for a ratio of three vegetables to one fruit.
Topic 3: Preparation Strategies
If you avoid vegetables because you don’t like them, it’s time to experiment.
Here are a few preparation methods you can try to shake things up:
- Raw and/or in salads
- Baked or roasted
- Stir-fried or sautéed
- Juiced with a juicer
Consider using vegetables as snacks rather than just your main meals.
If you suffer from gas or bloating when you eat raw vegetables try steaming them, it can make a big difference.
Topic 4: Vegetable Alternatives
Vegetable supplements (Greens Drinks) can provide a useful short term alternative while you build your intake or when fresh vegetables are unavailable. They are the vegetable equivalent of protein powder, in that they are powdered extract of specific fruit and vegetables.
Greens drinks should not serve as a long-term solution, but as a bridge till better options are found. Keeping a tub handy for a occasional use is not a bad idea.