Whatever diet you are on there’s no doubt that increasing your vegetable intake is something that will benefit you. The benefits for our cardiovascular system, immune system, gut, hormones, brain health and weight are huge and we should be aiming to get at least ten portions of different vegetables a day. Ten! I hear you say, that’s impossible! But actually it’s much easier than you think and eating a rainbow of different vegetables really will leave you feeling so much better.
Why 10 Portions?
Vegetables really do have the power to prevent and treat many diseases. Vegetables provide the broadest range of nutrients and phytochemicals, especially fibre and carotenes, of any food group. They are rich sources of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, protein and essential fatty acids. One of the largest studies to date, carried out at Harvard University, found that people who consume 8 or more servings of vegetables a day were 30% less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke! If that’s not a good enough reason, I don’t know what is!
What’s the Best Way to Consume Vegetables?
In their raw form vegetables contain many important phytochemicals and so it’s important to eat some of your vegetables raw each day. However, some of the most beneficial carotenes such as lycopene (tomatoes) and lutein (leafy greens) are better absorbed from cooked foods. Overcooking vegetables results in a loss of nutrients and so light steaming, baking or quick stir-frying are the best ways to eat your vegetables. Try not to boil vegetables unless using them in soups or stews or you’ll lose many of the nutrients into the water.
Try and include vegetables with your breakfast. Try having eggs with a few portions of dark leafy greens like sautéed spinach. Lunch could be a large salad with five or six portions of different vegetables. Having then already consumed around seven or eight portions, it is not difficult to add another couple with dinner.
Rebecca Prade (Bex) is a Registered Nutritional Therapist helping clients reach their optimal health. She has experience working with gut issues, autoimmunity, hormone imbalances, weight loss and kids health. She offers consultations at The Four Seasons when in Bahrain or online from London.
T: +44 7894152105