June 17 is “Eat Your Vegetables Day” and the perfect excuse to try and get that extra serve of vegetables into your diet.
In Australia, the recommendation is to eat 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables a day. The natural question is then: how big is a serve? The physical size of the serve will vary depending on the specific fruit or vegetable. This is because the guide for what constitutes a serve is based on weight. A standard serve of vegetables is 75 grams. For fruit, it’s 150 grams.
My mum (bless her) was always telling me to eat my vegetables because they are good for me. Thankfully, we don’t have to rely solely the testimony of my mum. A study, by University College London, found that eating large quantities of fruit and vegetables significantly lowered the risk of premature death – my mum was right all along. Knowing that eating vegetable and fruit is good for you is not groundbreaking, what is amazing is the size of the effect it has. The study found that eating at least seven serves of fruit and vegetables a day reduced the specific risks of death by cancer and heart disease by 25% and 31% respectively. This UK study therefore supports the Australian recommendation of “Go for 2&5”.
Unfortunately, there is no shortcut to gaining the health benefits. Your fruit and vegetables need to be fresh (or preferably combined as part of one of our delicious recipes). The same study found no evidence of significant benefit from fruit juice. Amazingly, canned and frozen fruit appeared to actually increase risks associated with cancer and heart disease by 17% per portion.
The sheer scale of the health benefits means it’s time to put down that tinned food, put away your frozen dinner, cancel your takeaway order and instead start to cook delicious recipes with fresh local ingredients – that’s why we exist.