Health specialists advise that we have a minimum of 5 portions of fruit and veg every day, and have been doing so for years. In fact, the guidelines have even changed lately saying that most people should be aiming for even more – up to 4.5 cups per day, equating to around 9 servings.
Finish your vegetables!
It’s something your parents probably said to you time and time again, and if you’re parent, something you feel like you never stop saying to your kids. This is for a very good reason. Eating fruit and vegetables as part of a balanced diet have advantages like no other foods – they’re packed full of vitamins and minerals that sometimes can’t be found elsewhere and can even help to ward off conditions such as heart disease, cancer, digestive issues, blood pressure and even more. You might even say they’re a miracle cure-all in some cases!
Ward off illness
To function at its best, your immune system and body requires a complex variety of different vitamins and minerals which all work in correlation with each other to keep you as healthy as possible. For example, vitamins A and C can help to keep your eyes, teeth and gums strong and healthy, as well as allowing your body to battle diseases and recuperate more quickly from injury by boosting your natural defences.
Fortunately, a broad diet of fresh vegetables makes this task far easier on your body, meaning you don’t have to put as much work into the upkeep of your general wellbeing aside from eating well and keeping moving.
Understand your body’s needs
Have you ever noticed that when you’re eating more healthily, your body responds better? As a result, you’ll also find that you start to notice these responses and where you can make improvements to your diet. If you struggle with knowing what it is that your body needs, whether that’s because you’re lacking in certain essential vitamins or you have an intolerance to a certain food type, our NutriQlu DNA nutrition test can help.
Work on that diet
Why not make one of your New Years resolutions upping your intake of vegetables by giving Veganuary a go or simply increasing the number of portions you eat of these healthy snacks each day? Swapping out your usual prepacked snacks for an apple or carrot sticks might not only save you money in the long run, but will also be one of the best things you can do for your health.
Vegetables are naturally low in both fat and calories, meaning that if you’re on a weight loss plan, you can eat a higher level of these than many other foods and not worry about putting on weight. If you choose vegetables wisely, you’ll find that you can use these to replace the higher calorie options in your diet but still feel full and satisfied, thanks to the higher level of fibre found in a lot of veg.
Detoxing juices and diets are all the rage right now – you can’t scroll through social media for a minute without seeing the promise of a tea that will detox your system after a heavy Christmas period of binging on food and alcohol.
In reality, there’s nothing necessary about these detoxes. In fact, if your diet is full of fresh veggies anyway, you don’t need them at all. Vegetables are packed full of natural antioxidants which not only protect your cells from harmful radicals that can cause disease, but they also boost your immune system.
Finding a balance
As with all healthy living plans, the key isn’t going all out one way or another, but keeping a balance. Making sure that you’ve got vegetables of all varieties in your diet is of utmost importance – from the salad leaves of the asteraceae family such as lettuce, chicory, rocket and herbs, through the brassicas including cauliflower, broccoli, sprouts and cabbages that are said to even help fight cancer, right up to the potatoes that we often wonder, are they really vegetables? Eating these alongside a healthy diet will ensure you’re feeling all the benefits they can provide.
And if you struggle because you think you don’t like vegetables? Keep trying! There is a vast variety of veg out there, so even if sprouts taste horribly bitter to you, you might like the fresh crunch of a raw carrot or the rich green flavour of kale blended into a smoothie. The opportunities to try veg in different ways are endless, so dive right in!
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