What is the best way to get all the fruit and veg we need? Read on…

Diabetic Living - - CONTENTS -

Do we need more veg than this?

Eat­ing a va­ri­ety of fruit and veg is one of the surest ways to get all the vi­ta­mins, min­er­als, fi­bre and plant chem­i­cals that help to lower our risk of dis­ease. Yet less than 7 per cent of Aus­tralians eat the rec­om­mended five serves of veg­eta­bles and only one in two of us eat the rec­om­mended two serves of fruit a day; and many are con­fused about what ‘counts’. If you feel the same, our chart op­po­site will help.

Is seven serves enough?

In Aus­tralia, we’ve long been ad­vised to eat at least five serves of veg and two serves of fruit daily, but some ex­perts ar­gue that’s sim­ply not enough. In re­al­ity, this rep­re­sents the min­i­mum re­quired for good health, and it’s best to aim for 7-10 serves a day. (A serve for adults is ap­prox­i­mately 75g of veg, 150g of fresh fruit and, oc­ca­sion­ally, 30g of dried fruit.)

An­other con­sid­er­a­tion is that the fruit and veg on of­fer may be less nu­tri­tious than it once was. This is due to in­ten­sive farm­ing meth­ods, changes in soil con­di­tions, new crop va­ri­eties (which yield larger pro­duce that needs less time to ripen on the plant), in­creased trans­port dis­tances, stor­age times and our ten­dency to eat out of sea­son.

What are the ben­e­fits?

• Boost your bone health with sources of cal­cium – broc­coli and dark-green leafy veg such as kale.

• Beat high blood pres­sure with cel­ery, toma­toes and spinach – all potas­sium rich.

• Pro­mote heart health by eat­ing av­o­cado, a source of healthy mo­noun­sat­u­rated fats and sol­u­ble fi­bre.

• Cut colds with vi­ta­min C: top sources are kiwi, straw­ber­ries, cit­rus fruit and cap­sicums.

• Fight hunger with lowen­ergy, high-fi­bre fruit and veg; they keep you fuller for longer.

Va­ri­ety is key

Aus­tralia’s favourite fruit is now the ba­nana, closely fol­lowed by ap­ples and cit­rus fruit; while pota­toes and car­rots are high on our list of favourite veg­eta­bles. Good news, as these are valu­able sources of nu­tri­ents and fi­bre. But it is im­por­tant to eat all the colours of the rain­bow to en­sure we get a good mix of vi­ta­mins, min­er­als and plant chem­i­cals.

Best eaten to­gether

• Av­o­cado & toma­toes

Heart-healthy fats in av­o­cado help you ab­sorb pro­tec­tive plant nu­tri­ents, such as ly­copene in toma­toes.

• Spinach & cit­rus You’ll ab­sorb the iron in spinach more eas­ily if you com­bine it with vi­ta­min-C-rich fruit or veg, such as orange, lemon or cap­sicums.

• Green leafy veg &

chick­peas Leafy greens are rich in mag­ne­sium, needed for en­ergy and heart health. Com­bine with beans or pulses – they sup­ply vi­ta­min B6, which helps up mag­ne­sium in­take.

• Broad beans & pars­ley

Beans are a good source of cat­e­chins, plant com­pounds thought to pro­tect against heart dis­ease and can­cer.

The vi­ta­min C in pars­ley helps our bod­ies to ab­sorb cat­e­chins more eas­ily.

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