Not only do vegetables add colour and texture to a plate, but they are highly nutritious and rich sources of vitamins and minerals. Vegetables are convenient and easily available, and there are many to choose from. They are high in fibre and low in calories. Fibre can help manage blood glucose and can help to make you feel full.
Evidence shows there are significant health benefits to getting at least five portions of a variety of vegetables and fruit every day. A portion is 80g.
Since fruit contains sugar, it’s advisable that if you have diabetes, you have no more than two fruits a day.
A study, in 2017, showed dramatic improvements in health when the intake of fruit and vegetables were increased. This study promoted a greater benefit when 10 portions of fruit and vegetables were eaten a day.
Compared with eating no fruit or veg a day, it showed:
- 200g cut the risk of cardiovascular disease by 13% while 800g cut the risk by 28%.
- 200g cut the risk of cancer by 4%, while 800g cut the risk by 13%.
- 200g cut the risk of a premature death by 15%, while 800g cut the risk by 31%.
If 10 portions a day seem a bit hard to achieve, at least start with three a day and aim to increase to five portions a day.
One of the many reasons most people avoid vegetables is because they feel they have little flavour. You want to avoid smothering your carefully prepared vegetables in sugary and salty condiments, like ketchup or soya sauce, or loads of white sauce and cheese.
Make sure to add plenty of all-natural flavourings, including fresh garlic and ginger, miso paste, spices like smoked paprika, chilli and cumin, and herbs, such as basil, rosemary and sage.
The recommendation is to have five fruits and vegetables a day, but really three to five of these should be vegetable servings.
Most vegetables are low-GI and low in carbs, but use this list to keep the carbs low and to know what a vegetable serving is.
Beetroot, cooked, no vinegar or sugar
Dill gherkins, not sweet
Mixed veg, frozen (cauliflower beans, carrots)
Mixed veg, frozen (Hawaiian stir-fry)
Mixed veg, frozen (peas, carrots, corn)
Sugar snap peas
1 cup cubes/80g
1 cup slices/125g
¾ cup cubes/75g
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