Half a kilo of vegetables and fruits per day

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According to the general recommendations of healthy nutrition, at least 5 servings of vegetables and fruit should be eaten daily. The optimal daily dose of vegetables and fruits is as much as 9 servings. It is very important to eat different vegetables and fruits of different colors. The color results from the content of minerals and vitamins as well as polyphenols, which often act as natural dyes. 

The menu should be varied, so on the plate should be dark green, orange and starchy vegetables, dry seeds of legumes, white and red vegetables and others. Very often, the recommendation of 9 servings a day is associated with fresh vegetables and fruit, i.e. unprocessed. Meanwhile, it is also about pickled vegetables, frozen, boiled, the least tinned. However, there is no doubt that raw vegetables and fruits contain the most minerals, vitamins and antioxidants because they have not been subjected to thermal treatment. 

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Recommendations of the World Health Organization 

The World Health Organization recommends a daily intake of vegetables and fruit that oscillates between 400-800 g per day. It is best to divide them into five servings, one of which may take the form of freshly squeezed juice. WHO recommendations stem from the fact that the human body is not able to store some of the components needed for its functioning, so in order to optimally use them, you must take them in smaller quantities several times a day. A serving of 400 g of fruit and vegetables a day is, for example, banana and pepper, tomato and apple, orange and cucumber – it’s not much, but few people eat at least one portion of fruit or vegetables during the day, choosing rather highly processed food. 

Consumption of vegetables and fruits and civilization diseases 

In the opinion of the World Health Organization, observing the principle of eating about 400-800 g of fruit or vegetables a day, helps to prevent diseases of civilization, such as 

– obesity, 

– type 2 diabetes 

– chronic heart disease 

– hypertension 

– stroke 

Meanwhile, in European countries, including Poland, the consumption of fruit and vegetables is still very low. Interestingly, the growing population of people with overweight or obesity is in line with this indicator. Vegetables and fruits should be the basis of a balanced diet, but the average consumer eats them too little. How to solve this problem? It seems that only consumers can solve it through daily food choices. 

Vegetables and fruits less attractive 

Vegetables and fruits are not among the most-bought products. Their low consumption is caused by economic factors (relatively high price relative to average earnings) and short shelf-life (vegetables and fruits quickly deteriorate – rot, mold). Besides, you usually have to take time to clean, peel and make the right preparation. Therefore, frozen foods are a very good alternative to fresh vegetables and fruit straight from the farmer. Frozen vegetables and fruits retain their nutritional value (although slightly smaller than fresh, especially blanched vegetables), have a long shelf life and can be eaten throughout the year. The level of diversification of this product group has increased significantly recently. We can buy not only single frozen vegetables and fruits (eg cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, strawberries, blueberries) at a fairly low price (especially own brands of supermarket chains), but also ready-made mixtures from which you can prepare a soup or a dinner dish – more and you can not be healthier anymore. 

Tasty fruits, vegetables a little less 

Probably not many people would have to be convinced to drink a banana-strawberry smoothie, or to eat an apple mousse with heat and cinnamon. The fruits are on the winning position, because they have a sweet taste – we can replace them with sweets without remorse. Nevertheless, both the WHO recommendations and the opinions of dieticians indicate that only 5 servings should come from fruit with 5 servings of vegetables and fruit per day. Unlike vegetables, fruits contain a lot of simple sugars, especially fructose. Therefore, we should not overeat them and limit ourselves to two portions a day (eg one apple and a glass of strawberry cocktail, banana and a glass of orange juice, etc.). 

Three portions of vegetables can be mixed into dinner, or spread over lunch and dinner.

Vegetable breakfasts although not very popular, they can also be tasty. You do not need to eat 2 tomatoes, carrots and a glass of spinach. You can tomato and carrots prepare pasta sauce, and spinach add to the sandwiches. Of course, it’s best to eat vegetables in a fresh form, because then they have the highest nutritional value, but you do not have to go straight to the diet of raw food to eat healthy food. 

The vegetable flavor can be turned up a little. The easiest way is to bake them in the oven. Under the influence of high temperature, natural sugar is extracted from vegetables. Vegetables take on a beautiful aroma and aroma (even cauliflower and Brussels sprouts). To prepare the baked vegetables, combine several types of vegetables, put them in a casserole, then sprinkle with olive oil and season with salt (Himalayan, sea, Kusser) and pepper. 

Fresh vegetables (eg in a salad) you can sprinkle with citrus juice (for example, lemon, lime), or vinegar, or cold-pressed oils (olive oil, linseed, hemp oil). Do not regret the spices, but avoid mayonnaise and refined oils. You can easily improve the taste of vegetables by adding parsley, basil, thyme, oregano, garlic, savory or coriander. Other options are slightly more oriental additions, such as chili, cinnamon, nutmeg and turmeric. You can eat vegetables with hummus, baba ghanoush or other healthy dip. 

Do not give up starchy vegetables and legumes 

People with diabetes should choose vegetables more carefully because some of them have a high glycemic index after cooking – corn, beetroot, carrot, potato and sweet potato. These are just some examples of starchy vegetables. If you do not have problems maintaining a proper blood sugar level, a portion of boiled carrot or sweet potato will not hurt. The glycemic index of highly processed products is much higher and they are a real threat to your health. 

Do not give up legumes as well. They should replace meat 3-4 times a week. If you eat a falafel instead of a beef cutlet, and replace the chicken with chickpeas, your body will not be exposed to acidification (disturbance of the acid-alkaline balance of the body leading, among others, to weakness, fatigue, weight gain). 

What is it about vegetables that WHO, doctors and nutritionists have to convince us to eat more? Maybe there is a stereotype of vegetable soup, which parents and grandparents forced to eat, or that in a fast paced life there is no time to cook healthy meals from vegetables? At this point, a big bow of thanks is due to producers of vegetable preserves and products. The food products they propose, including frozen vegetables can help even the most overworked to change their diet to a healthier one and treat the body with the best treatment against civilization diseases that one can dream of in the 21st century. 

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You can read also: Attention! These fruits are calorie bombs!

Posted on: May 6, 2019

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