Eating a minimum of five full cups of vegetables every day is not only effective for weight loss but is one of the simplest ways to improve overall health. Research has shown that people who eat more fruits and vegies eat less fat and fewer total calories, while the extra fibre substantially increases weight loss. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of this particular challenge.
Five cups, it’s a lot of chewing. There is plenty of time for the brain to get those messages of feeling full. It takes quite a bit of time to munch your way through 5 cups of fruit and veg. It’s quite bulky; it is going to make it difficult to fit in ALL the other wicked things. The success of this healthy habit is not based on bulk alone. Lets go back to the humble spinach leaf with it’s thousands of micro nutrients. Let’s consider how many micro nutrients there would be in five cups of fruit and veg, how many that we don’t know or understand anything about. And then consider what effect this might have on our immune system, our metabolism and all our thought processes.
Everyone knows that vegetables are good for you. But few people actually put theory into practice. Vegetables and fruit provide us with fibre, vitamins, minerals and water. You cannot obtain all these nutrients from other foods. Of course fruit is excellent (and we encourage you to eat a couple of pieces daily) but it seems to be vegetables, including salad, which hold the key to good health. Studies have shown that people who eat vegetables have a lower risk of heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes and bowel diseases such as diverticulitis.
If you find it difficult to include vegetables into every meal, drink a fresh vegetable juice daily. Combine carrot with a variety of celery, beetroot, ginger, cucumber, spinach, parsley etc. Alternatively V8 has a great fruit and vegetable juice with 2 portions per glass.
Try to vary the colours of your vegetables. The darker colours (e.g. spinach, beetroot) contain lots of nutrients including iron and betacarotene. Eat some raw vegetables daily as well as cooked. The best ways to cook your vegetables are steam, stir-fry or dry bake.
Here are some suggestions:
• Avocado (fruit but used as a vegetable) – essential fatty acids, vitamin E, excellent for skin
• Beans, green – high in fibre, good for kidneys and bladder
• Beetroot – (the leaves are good to) full of antioxidants, great for liver and often included in anti cancer treatments
• Broccoli (and all the Brassica family including brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, turnips) – all contain phytochemicals which help protect against cancer. Contain vitamin C.
• Carrots – good source of beta-carotene, important for eyesight and skin
• Celery – Good source of potassium, good for arthritis
• Chili – excellent for the circulation, helping varicose veins and feeling the cold
• Cucumber – low calorie and cooling , good for kidneys
• Garlic – really a herb – helps reduce blood fats, good as an antibiotic, helps immunity
• Green Leafy vegetables – (including spinach, Asian green vegetables such as bok choy) excellent choice of vitamin B including folic acid, magnesium, fibre and iron
• Lettuce – good fibre, the more bitter the lettuce e.g. radicchio, rocket – good for digestion
• Mushrooms – good source of vitamin B and iron. Japanese mushrooms including shiitake good for immune system
• Onion – include at least one onion per day. Onions help lower blood cholesterol and help with asthma and hay fever. They regulate blood sugar levels
• Potatoes – Contains some fibre and vitamin C. Not as vitamin or mineral rich as the other more coloured vegetables. Make sure you eat the skin as this is where most of the nutrients are contained
• Pumpkin – a good source of beta-carotene and fibre. Very warming
• Sprouts – Excellent source of most vitamin, mineral and enzymes. Also good protein
• Tomato – (fruit but used as a vegetable) contains vitamin C and lycopene, an antioxidant good for preventing prostate cancer.