By: Judy Davie - The Food Coach
I was thinking about the new year and whether I wanted to set a new year's resolution and decided to have a phrase instead which is to make each day count. It seemed particularly relevant when you think about the number of lives lost through COVID-19. Compared to other foods, vegetables contain the most amounts of nutrients for the least number of calories. If you have health complications as a result of carrying too much weight, increasing the number of vegetables in your diet can help you to lose weight.
On the night of the first of January, my husband noticed that he was not wearing his wedding ring. It was dark and so there was little point in starting our search that night, so I went to bed and thought about our approach. If we lost the whole of the next day searching in vain, at least we could make the day productive. The next day we retraced his movements from the previous day and cleaned up as we went. We behind the bed head, washed and vacuumed the cars, cleared out his golf bag, and wiped down his clubs, and I'm happy to say we were rewarded by finding his ring. Had we not, at least we could have said that the second day of January was put to good use.
How a day counts is quite subjective. What matters to me may not matter to anyone else but where it can apply universally is with diet. A daily diet of at least 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit counts towards maintaining good health and if ever there was a time to highlight this good practice, it's right now.
Throughout the UK and US, the health system is almost on its knees unable to cope with the large numbers needing hospitalised as a result of Covid complications. If the country could reduce the number of hospital admissions by making the population less vulnerable, there would be less of a problem. With the benefit of hindsight, an enormous investment in preventative health to improve the health of those with underlying health conditions could have gone a long way in reducing hospital admissions.
It may sound simple but eating 5 serves of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit each day is something we can do.
If we want to become healthy we need to make healthy behaviours a habit and a daily habit of eating 5 serves of vegetables is a simple place to start and it's unlikely any health professional would disagree.
Vegetables are jam-packed with minerals, vitamins, phytochemicals, and anthocyanins which we know can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases including 30 percent of cancers, Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, and cholesterol. Nutrients in vegetables can also help reduce inflammation and strengthen the immune function.
Fibre from vegetables is important for good digestion. It helps you go to the loo and eliminate toxins and provides fuel for the good bacteria in the gut. With a healthy gut, we are less prone to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
Vegetables work better together rather than when they are extracted and isolated, which is why it's always better to eat the whole food.
If we make a conscious practice of eating more vegetables, it should become a conscious habit.
When you look at our Market Fresh selection this week you will see that we are awash with summer produce. The fruits are sensational and the veggie choice is vast. The greengrocer is like the Garden of Eden with much more exciting stuff than apples (sorry apples, I like you but there's time later in the year to enjoy you).
Summer is a time when almost anything we want is available and it's the time to get a head start in health. If we take a great run at it now and experience the (many) benefits of healthy eating while it's still warm and light we'll be more inclined to keep going when winter sets in because we will have experienced how much better we feel when we do.
We are privileged to live in such a safe country with so much fresh food available. Let's take advantage of it, make each day count by eating 5 serves of vegetables, and staying well.
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