By Naturopath Gemma Hurditch for CNM
The protective benefits of veg and fruit are amplified the more of them you eat. Some advocate ’10 as the new 5′ in terms of recommended daily portions. Aim to ‘eat a rainbow’ every day as the more varied the colours of your diet, the more diverse the plant nutrient boosters you’re getting. Load up on your greens, as they are particularly protective.
A portion is an 80g serving of fresh veg or fruit. Aim for four portions of veg to just one portion of fruit.
Not just salads and soups
Increasing your consumption of veg and fruit doesn’t have to be all about salads and soups, brilliant though they are. Soups are an excellent way to get plenty of veg as you can get a lot of portions of vegetables into one pot!
Swap other foods for veg
You can replace pasta by spiralising courgette or sweet potato; use aubergine and pumpkin slices instead of pasta sheets in lasagne; make cauliflower rice; freeze bananas and blend them with berries to make ‘ice cream’; shred lettuce or Chinese cabbage to replace rice noodles in Asian dishes; use lentils instead of mince in bolognaise sauce as one serving per day of ‘beans’ can count as a veg; add a slice of lemon or orange to your herbal tea; make vegetable crudités for dipping.
Home-made green smoothies are great. Avoid shop-bought juices and bottled smoothies have a high sugar content. Make your own using greens, whole fruit, and preferably coconut or filtered water to blend. Add a pinch of cinnamon for its blood sugar normalising properties. Experiment and enjoy!
Eating more veg and fruit will not only improve your chances of a long and healthy life, it will also lift your mood, improve your waistline and your skin. Buying organic produce maximises nutrient content and reduces toxins but if you can’t have organic, don’t let it put you off eating veg and fruit!