PRACTICING ULTIMATE SELF CARE WITH FRUITS & VEGGIES
MANAGING COVID-19 STRESS
SELF CARE SERIES – PART 3
Loading more fruits and vegetables in your grocery cart can guide you to a healthier lifestyle and do wonders for your mind and body.
Sounds pretty kindergarten, doesn’t it? Most people recognize these food groups as part of a healthy diet. However, there is a bit more to it than that. Researchers continue to demonstrate that no other food group can rival the nutritional value of fruit and vegetable consumption and their remarkable ability to improve our overall health and wellbeing.
Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. Eating more fruits and vegetables boosts happiness and can have a major positive impact on our psychological health. According to a 2013 study, there is a direct correlation between eating fruits and vegetables with positive mood and emotional wellbeing. (1)
Protection from Disease
There have been numerous studies showing compelling evidence that those of us with a higher intake of fruits and vegetables have lower chances of developing diseases. The most impactful fruits and vegetables are leafy greens, coniferous vegetables and citrus. (2)
A vegetable-rich diet can reduce risk of some digestive problems, heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer.
TRY TO MAKE YOUR PLATE AS COLOURFUL AS POSSIBLE
|Heart disease, cancer
|Metabolism ailments, cognitive function, bone strengthening|
Fruits and vegetables contain an abundant number of disease-fighting phytochemicals to defend the body against the growth of harmful microorganisms, including pathogens.
Phytochemicals are protective compounds found in plants to help shield themselves against environment elements and insect attacks. Ongoing science is determining that when we eat plant foods, these superpower compounds are passed along to us and may fight cancer and heart disease.
Fruits and veggies rich in phytochemicals:
- Brussel Sprouts
- Red peppers
- Sweet Potato
Eat your Veggies
Having heard “eat your veggies” many times, my kids will likely be rolling their eyes when they see this blog post! Vegetables are the backbone of every healthy diet but it can be difficult for some of us to get enough in our diet. They are not always easy to incorporate into meals and some vegetables are, indeed, an acquired taste. Flavour is complicated and there are many scientific factors behind our palate and preferences. Basically, many of us are simply not built to naturally enjoy vegetables.
There is no way each of us can possibly hate all vegetables! Pick the flavour (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umami) of vegetable that fits preferences. It might be a challenge at first, but we can adapt to enjoy vegetables by trying different cooking styles and recipes. The taste of some vegetables taste different from eating raw to being properly cooked.
Vegetables don’t have to mean salads. Here are a few ideas on how to incorporate more vegetables into your family meals:
- Add veggies to eggs to make a delicious omelet!
- Add to Smoothies
- Avocado on toast
- Breakfast burrito
- Add pumpkin or butternut squash to pancakes
- Veggie wrap or add veggies to your sandwich
- Add to soup!
- Raw veggies are always a great side! Cut raw veggies up and leave in water in your fridge for cravings!
- Stir fry… mmm
- Add veggies to your favourite pasta dish
- Steamed or oven roasted veggies make a delicious side
- Swapping meat with cauliflower (eg cauliflower wings!)
- Make zucchini chips (instead of a processed bag of potato chips)
Fruits & Veggies can make you Happy
There are many delicious fruits & vegetables out there, waiting to be discovered! As Rachel Kelly, the author of The Happiness Diet, put it, “Our digestive health and nutritional health affects our brain health.” Having a happy brain sounds pretty awesome!
Let’s keep our bodies running on maximum efficiency! That means spending more time in the product aisle at the grocery store.
Try fruits and veggies that you’ve never heard of before or rediscover old faves! Without being too dramatic – just go eat your fruits & veggies! Your health will thank you for it.