Improve your health by increasing your intake of vegetables.
According to the guidelines, you should eat a minimum of seven servings of fruit and vegetables each day.
How many do you eat? go on count!
Very few people meet this target, and miss out on one of the most potent ways of improving health and preventing disease.
vegetables are excellent sources of beta-carotene, as well as vitamin c and some b vitamins. These help to keep you skin and eyes healthy and your bones strong, and help fight infection. They work with other vitamins and minerals to keep muscles healthy.
In addition, vegetables are an excellent source of potassium and of fiber, which plays an important role in the diet; studies show a reduced incidence of cardiovascular disease in those countries where a high-fiber diet is the norm. Fiber also helps to keep the intestinal tract in good working order and may help reduce the risk of colon cancer.
In addition, a high-fiber diet is often low in fat while providing a feeling of satiety, or fullness, without adding unnecessary calories. Because of this quality, fiber can play an important role in weight control.
Do you know what a serving is?
What is a serving?
The recommendation is at least 7 servings of vegetables and fruits each day. Examples of vegetable servings include:
- 3 heaped tbsp cooked carrots, peas or diced swede
- 1 corn on the cob
- 8 Brussels sprouts
- 1 cereal bowl of salad leaves
- 1 medium or 7 cherry tomatoes
- 5cm (2in) piece of cucumber
Increasing Your Vegetable Intake
Vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals and provide a great source of fiber, so try to eat two to three servings a day, This is not as hard as it may seem. Eat raw vegetables, such as peppers and celery, as often as possible, to benefit from their optimum nutritional content. Otherwise, you should use a cooking method that minimizes loss of nutrients.
Always include a vegetable in your sandwich filling, and try dishes based on vegetables rather than meat.
Do you know what a super vegetable is?
Thats great if you do.. but for those who don’t
Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and swede, are particularly beneficial for health. They contain phyochemicals and other compounds that may help detoxify certain cancer-causing substances before they have a chance to cause harm in the body. This family of vegetables are also rich in beta-cartene, vitamins B1 and C, Folate, Calcium, Iron and potassium as well as fiber.
Tomatoes also have important health benefits.
They are rich in lycopene, a carotenoid that helps to prevent cardiovascular disease and cancers. Lycopene is a fat-soluble substance that is absorbed best when cooked in oil. Tomatoes also contain the antioxidants beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
Carrots are a rich in source of beta-carotene, which is precursor of vitamin A. as an antioxidant, beta-carotene helps protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Retaining the nutrients in vegetables
Vegetables are important sources of vitamins and minerals, but these delicate micro-nutrients are easily destroyed by heat. It is therefore best to eat at least some of your daily servings raw – for example, in salads or snacks, such as baby carrots, celery sticks, or slices of cucumber or pepper.
When you do cook vegetables, the golden rule is to do some for the minimum amount of time and in as little liquid as possible, in order to retain their valuable nutrients. Suitable methods of cooking vegetables include steaming, stir frying, sauteing, micro-waving and poaching.
Since the vegetables are not immersed in water, this method retains the maximum nutrients and fresh taste.
Do you steam your vegetables?
Requiring very little oil, finely diced vegetables can be quickly fried in a large shallow pan over a high heat.
Try this quick recipe: Crunchy Vegetable stir-fry
- Basmati rice (80g/3oz)
- 1 Oninoin
- 1 Garlic Clove
- 4 Stalks of Pak Chai
- 2 Peppers ( 1 red and 1 yellow)
- Sliced mushrooms (150g/5oz)
- Steam the rice until the grains are tender.
- Slice the onion, crush the garlic, and shred the pak choi. De-seed the peppers and cut them into strips that are 1cm (1/2in) wide.
- Heat a little oil in a wok over high heat. Add the onion and garlic and stif-fry for 2 minutes. Add the peppers, mushrooms, and Pak Choi, and stir-fry for a further 4 minutes. serve the stir fried vegetables with the rice.
In a small bowl, combine 2 tbsp cold water and 1 tbsp cornflour. In a small pan, combine 5 1/2 tbsp white rice vinegar and 2 tbsp soy sauce.
Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and add the cornflour mixture. stir until the sauce is clear and thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger. Set aside until required.
Each serving provides:
Calories: 246 | Fat: 1.6g | Protein: 8.0g | carbs: 54g | Fiber: 3.0g | Sodium: 27mg | Vitamins: A,Fol,C,D | Minerals: Ca, K, P
Will you fit more vegetables into your daily schedule? How has this affected you?