By Susannah Juteau M.Sc. RD – Community Dietitian at Centretown Community Health Centre
- Keep your Memory Sharp! New evidence is showing that a great way to protect your memory as you age is to boost your intake of fruits and vegetables – especially fruit. In a large study where participants were followed for 13 years, those who had a higher daily consumption of fruit and vegetables performed better on verbal memory tests than the participants who consumed less. Also interesting was that individuals with a higher daily fruit intake and those who consumed more vitamin C rich foods also performed better. The high consumers averaged an intake of eight daily servings of fruit and vegetables – half of which were fruit.
- For Happiness and Mental Health: Wellbeing was highest among people who eat seven portions of fruit and vegetables a day. This conclusion was made after looking at the eating habits of 80,000 people in Britain – that’s a huge sample size! Only about a 10th of Canadians eat the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables a day. As purchasers of the Good Food Box, you likely have an intake above most of the population but remember to continue to eat lots of fruits and vegetables once your box contents have run out.
- It’s virtually impossible to overdose on nutrients with fruits and vegetables: Unlike with supplements, where too much of one nutrient can cause problems with health, fruits and vegetables provide the perfect balance of nutrients. Many of the nutrients even work together to help absorption. Stick to a variety of choices and it’s very unlikely you’ll ever have to worry about getting too much of a nutrient as you would with supplements or multivitamins.
- There’s NO better way to get your antioxidants: Antioxidants protect your body’s cells from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. They help reverse pollution in your body from our food and environment. Supplements can sometimes have amounts of antioxidants that are too high and therefore cause harm. Fruits and vegetables never have amounts that are toxic for your body (as long as you’re eating a variety). Pretty much every colourful fruit or vegetable has high levels of antioxidants. Examples: sweet potato, peppers (all), berries, carrots, kiwifruit, strawberries, citrus fruits, papaya, brussels sprouts, broccoli, leafy vegetables, tomatoes, and potatoes (the list goes on and on!!).
- They keep your bowels regular: Fruits and vegetables are high in fibre. By eating more, it will help make your stools softer and bulkier. When a diet is high in fibre, stools pass more quickly and smoothly. Whether you suffer from constipation or diarrhea, fibre is important. Regular bowel movements also help reduce the risk of bowel diseases such as diverticulosis, hemorrhoids and cancer. Top choices: avocado (1/2) – 6.7 g fibre, pear – 5 g, artichoke – 4.7 g, raw berries (all types) – 2-4 g, cooked dark greens – 2.7 – 3.7 g, sweet potato – 3.5 g
Daily fibre needs:
- For Men: 38g fibre a day
- For Women: 25g fibre a day
Tempting Tips for including more greens in your diet:
- Stir into almost any soup. Can be added at the end because they cook up quickly.
- Boost your breakfast. Any time you cook with eggs, add some greens!
- Try making your own kale chips. There are numerous recipes on the internet but for something new and simple, toss with olive oil and sprinkle with cumin.
- Add greens to any grain dish or grain salad – it always tastes great!
- Add it to any pre-bought foods that don’t have many vegetables ex: frozen pizza, mac n’ cheese, hummus.