Those of you living in Colchester can look our for my monthly article in the Elite Magazine. This time I'm writing about the benefits of fruit and vegetables. Here it is:
Why should you eat more fruit and vegetables?
The NHS advise we eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, but did you know this number was chosen on the basis that it would be achievable for most of us? The British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) actually recommend we work towards a total of 7 portions (5 vegetables and 2 fruit).
So, what are the risks of not eating enough fruit and vegetables? The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimate an insufficient intake causes around 14% of gastrointestinal cancer deaths, 11% of coronary artery disease deaths and 9% of stroke deaths globally.
Eating the rainbow
By combining an assortment of colourful fruit and vegetables you can increase your intake of essential vitamins and minerals and also lesser known health boosting phytonutrients. Take your pick:
Orange: sweet potatoes and carrots are packed with beta carotene for skin health. '
Purple: aubergines and red cabbage are a good source of anthocyanins with anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Red: tomatoes and red peppers provide lycopene to protect against skin and prostate cancer.
Green: spinach and kale are rich in magnesium to boost energy levels.
Here are some easy wins:
Blitz a smoothie for a quick breakfast or mid-morning snack and follow the 2/3 vegetable and 1/3 fruit rule, avoiding fruit juice which will spike your blood sugar. Use frozen or fresh ingredients, plus a plant milk or herbal tea.
Blend onion, celery, carrot, courgette and tomatoes into a pasta or tagine sauce. Work spinach and kale into a curry or get a kick from tomatoes, cucumber, onion and lime in a Mexican salsa.
Don’t miss out at breakfast. Add frozen or fresh fruit to your porridge, enjoy avocado and poached eggs or devour a simple slice of rye bread with almond butter and banana before you dash out the door.