written by Rebecca Goulter
If you’re anything like us, you proudly announced on 31 December your New Year’s Resolutions to eat more fruit and veg, and less Macca’s. Two weeks later, those resolutions are looking harder and harder to keep, and you’re starting to regret telling EVERYONE at the New Year’s party of your grand ambitions.
Fear not! We’ve looked up six good reasons why you should commit to eating more fruit and vegetables every day.
1. Reduces risk of heart disease and lowers blood pressure
Studies* have shown that a diet chock-full of fruit and veg can substantially lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. If you manage to have eight or more servings of fruit and veg per day, you are 30% less likely to develop cardiovascular symptoms than those who have less than 1.5 servings. What’s best to reduce your risk? Green leafy vegetables including kale, chard, lettuce and spinach (all those SUPER foods), citrus fruits, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.
2. Lowers risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Some research from Finland* has indicated that a diet rich with whole fruits and leafy green vegetables can reduce your chances of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects how your body produces glucose (blood sugar) and can have horrific effects. These research findings are true for both men and women, so no excuses!
Fun fact: The same study found that greater consumption of fruit juice is linked with a higher risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Keep those fruits whole, or blend them in a smoothie. Excess juice = bad!
3. Does wonders for your gut
Sure, the first couple of days of a fruit and veg-heavy diet can be full of bloating and some … unpleasant trips to the bathroom. However, if you stick with fruit and veg the increased indigestible fibre in your diet can calm irritable bowel syndrome, keep you regular, decrease pressure in your intestines and prevent diverticulosis (a non-fun condition where pouches form in the walls of your intestines due to high pressure). You will definitely appreciate the benefits of more fibre in your diet, trust me.
4. Keeps those eyes healthy
No, we are not claiming that eating carrots will give you super-vision. That old wives’ tale has been thoroughly disproved. But if you’re wanting to reduce the chances of contracting two common eye diseases, namely cataracts and macular degeneration, then you might want to include a lot of spinach and bright coloured vegies in your diet. Sure, those two diseases affect more people over the age of 65, but prevention is better than a cure.
5. So, so low in calories
You’re trying to lose some weight, but just can’t seem to feel full. The amazing thing about fruit and veggies are they are low in calories. If you’re feeling peckish, make a massive salad and go to town! You will also feel full for longer because of all that wonderful indigestible fibre and slow-to-digest carbs we talked about earlier. Nom!
6. It gives you a reason to come to the markets!
There are few things more fun than browsing through the many and varied fresh produce stalls at the Saturday Fresh Market, trying to find the best deal on fruit and veg. You’ll definitely burn calories walking around in the morning, and the vast array of colourful produce looks so good. How can you not want to eat it? You’ll find something new and exciting to try every week.
References 1. Hung, H.C., et al., Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of major chronic disease. J Natl Cancer Inst, 2004. 96(21): p. 1577-84. 2. He, F.J., et al., Increased consumption of fruit and vegetables is related to a reduced risk of coronary heart disease: meta-analysis of cohort studies. J Hum Hypertens, 2007. 21(9): p. 717-28. 3. He, F.J., C.A. Nowson, and G.A. MacGregor, Fruit and vegetable consumption and stroke: meta-analysis of cohort studies. Lancet, 2006.367(9507): p. 320-6. 4. Muraki, I., et al., Fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three prospective longitudinal cohort studies. BMJ, 2013. 347: p. f5001. 5. Mursu, J., et al., Intake of fruit, berries, and vegetables and risk of type 2 diabetes in Finnish men: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. Am J Clin Nutr, 2014. 99(2): p. 328-33.