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Why eat your vegetables?

07 Oct 2020
Health & Fitness Health & Fitness, Nutrition

With National Nutrition Week around the corner, it's a great time to remind ourselves about the importance of eating our veggies and why we should include a variety of vegetables in our diet!

Eat your veggies for your health!

Why eat veggies? Vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and phytonutrients. They are also nutrient-dense and low in energy (kilojoules). High vegetable consumption has also been found to help to reduce an individuals risk of weight gain and chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and some types of cancers. 

In addition to physical activity, ensuring adequate vegetable consumption is crucial in the development of children and adolescents, and assists older age groups to maintain a healthy weight.


Eat a variety of vegetables to get a range of vitamins and nutrients

Every vegetable offers different nutritional benefits. Therefore, we need to select vegetables that come in different colours and belong to a range of vegetable groups. Different types or groups of vegetables include root vegetables, leafy greens, legumes, allium, cruciferous, marrow and edible plant stem.

According to Healthline, some of the most nutritious vegetables include:
  • Spinach – high in vitamin A, vitamin K and antioxidants.
  • Carrots – high in vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium.
  • Broccoli – high in vitamin K, vitamin C, folate, manganese and potassium.
  • Brussels Sprouts – high in antioxidants, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, manganese and potassium.
  • Kale – high in B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, calcium and copper.
When selecting veggies at the shops, you will notice that there are different varieties of vegetables available every season! If a preferred vegetable is not in season, you can also buy vegetables in a frozen, dried or can form. The Australian Dietary Guidelines suggest checking the ingredients list and choosing unsweetened and reduced-salt options to get the best health benefits.


Eat sufficient servings of veg in line with the Aussie recommended daily intake!

Did you know that the 2017-18 National Health Survey found that 92% of Australian adults did not consume the recommended daily 5-6 serves of vegetables?

As well as consuming a variety of vegetables, we should be aiming for the following number of serves of vegetables, as recommended by The Australian Dietary Guidelines (ADG). The minimum number per day varies for different age groups.Screen-Shot-2020-10-05-at-5-37-25-pm.png

(Source: National Health and Medical Research Council, Australian Department of Health, www.eatforhealth.gov.au)

So, what exactly counts as one serve of vegetables?

Sometimes it can be difficult to judge what is considered to be 'one serve of vegetables'. The following diagram outlines some examples of what constitutes one serve for different types of vegetables. The specified quantities below will help you determine how much of each vegetable you should aim to consume.

vegetable_serves_table_web.jpg

(Source: National Health and Medical Research Council, Australian Department of Health, www.eatforhealth.gov.au)


Get inspired when cooking your vegetables! 

If you are looking for some ideas of how to include more vegetables in your diet, there are a bunch of wonderful healthy recipes and meal plans out there that will make you say WOW!

A range of foodie celebs and nutritionists have developed a bunch of recipes for Nutrition Australia's Tryfor5 campaign that starts next week! Check out some of the mouthwatering ideas here https://www.tryfor5.org.au/

Or, if you are a member of the Home Fitness Network, make sure you check out the 'Nutrition Portal' section! You will find a range of recipes in there that cater for different dietary requirements and span across several cuisines. This section of the portal also includes cooking tips, delicious meal plans and a tool where you can personalise your meal plan and select your favourite recipes!

Find out more here https://www.belgraviahomefitnessnetwork.com/.

*For individualised dietary support and advice, please contact your local GP or a qualified nutrition specialist.

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