What's so good about fruit & veg anyway?
Vegetables & fruits are low calorie foods packed full of essential vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. If your body receives enough vital nutrients through a good diet it can help regulate your hunger hormones. Some scientists have speculated that the reason some obese people on Western diets can eat massive amounts of calories and still fell hungry is because they are eating nutrient deficient food. The body digests this food and then expects to get the nutrients to carry out its physiological functions. But it doesn't, so its sends hunger signals to the brain so you will ingest more food/nutrients. This would explain how you can eat a 1000 calorie meal at MacDonald's and be hungry 20 mins later!
Vitamins: are essential for normal physiological function. These functions include: growth, reproduction, digestion, energy transfer, nervous system function, lowering blood pressure, lowering cholesterol and much more. Being deficient in vitamins can create chronic health conditions.
For some more reading on the benefits of Vitamin & Minerals check out this site: All about Vitamins & Minerals
You should be aiming for about 10 portions of fruit & vegetables per day. If you are trying to lose weight it should be a higher ratio of vegetables to fruit.
- 1 portion of vegetables is about the size of your fist
- 1 portion of fruit is one medium sized piece of fruit, or a cupped handful of chopped fruit/berries
10 portions may sound like a lot but you should be trying to get them in with each meal throughout the day. For example:
Breakfast: An omelette with spinach, cherry tomatoes, Spanish onion, capsicum. Or oats with banana and berries
Lunch: Salad(lettuce, tomatoes, beetroot, grated carrot, olives etc...) with lean meat. Or a nice home-made vegetable soup.
Dinner: Grilled meat with steamed vegetables. Or a lovely curry/stew packed with veg
Snacks: fruit & natural yoghurt, unsalted nuts
I will have some tasty nutritious recipes up on this site soon, which will help you get in your daily portions of fruit & veg.
Part 3: The Power of Protein (coming soon!)