Beach. Heat. Sun. Night swims. Barbeques. Cocktails. Yep, that’s right, Australian Summer is here along with a brand new 2015!
With a new year comes new motivation to shake (or run!) off those extra couple of kilograms or get back to treating our bodies with some love so we feel like happy humans again. This means nourishing fuel and adequate exercise, enough sleep and reducing those delicious beers, sneaky ciders or sparking wines.
In January everyone gets bombarded with exercise and nutrition programs, social media posts, gimmicks, gadgets and fad diets. It can all get a little overwhelming. Which one will you choose? And importantly, I am reminding you, which ones are credible!? I saw a post the other day online which read, “Having a six pack does not make you an authority on nutrition”. I am with this philosophy 110%! Make sure you do your research. I suggest following or booking in with an Accredited Practising Dietitian, I heard that they are pretty awesome ;)
Enough of all this bananas, although these options are all appeeling – time to get back to some nutrition basics – Increasing your fruit and vegetable intake!
Fruit and vegetables are high in fibre and various vitamins and minerals. The good news is that we are receiving more positive evidence that adequate intake in align with guidelines is associated with reducing disease risk. Recently (2014) the College of London found that eating seven or more portions reduces the specific risks of death by cancer and heart disease by 25% and 31% respectively. WOW. Give me another carrot!
This isn't the only benefit. Fruit and vegetables can help fill us up whilst reducing the energy density (total amount of energy) of what we are eating. If you are looking for weight loss, getting your 2 fruit and 5 vege everyday can definitely assist your efforts!
Eating fruit and vegetables in season is often CHEAPER and they taste BETTER. Wondering what fruit and vege is in season currently?
Taken from the Australian Seasonal Produce Guide
Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries cherries, grapes, melons (watermelon, rock melon, honeydew), nectarines, peaches, plums, Valencia oranges, tomatoes
Asparagus, beans, beetroot, cabbage, capsicum, carrots, celery, chilies, cucumbers, eggplant, leeks, lettuces, pumpkin, rhubarb, snow peas, spinach, spring onion, sweet corn, turnips, zucchini
Some Nutritional Benefits of summer fruits
· Berries: High in antioxidants, vitamin K, manganese and vitamin C, these guys are bursting with health. They are also low in calories!
· Melons: Watermelon being ~92% water is a great hydrator during summer. Similar to tomatoes, watermelon is also high in lycopene, a compound linked to reducing the risk of prostrate cancer. Watermelon is one of the only foods that is high GI however (releases sugar quickly into your blood steam), so I would eat it in conjunction with other fruits or some yoghurt. Rock melon and honeydew are an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium.
· Orange and yellow fruits are excellent sources of vitamin A for glowing and strong skin, vision and immunity.
A serve of fruit (2 per day recommended)
· 1 medium apple, banana, orange or pear
· 2 small apricots, kiwi fruits or plums
· 20 grapes/cherries, 1 cup blueberries or raspberries, 3 cups strawberries
· 30g dried fruit, such as 4 dried apricot halves; 1 ½ tablespoons of sultana
· 1 cup diced pieces of canned fruit
Or only occasionally
· 125mL (1/2 cup) 100% no added sugar fruit juice
Some Nutritional Benefits of Summer Vegetables
· Beetroot helps maintain healthy blood pressure levels
· Cabbage is an anti-inflammatory
· Pumpkin and carrots contain high amounts of vitamin A
· Spring onions contain a valuable flavonoid quercetin, which acts as an antioxidant linked to preventing cancer. Their use also means you don’t have to add sugar and salt to your cooking!
A serve of vegetables (5 per day recommended)
· ½ cup of raw or cooked orange (such as carrots or pumpkin) or cruciferous (such as broccoli, cauliflower, or cabbage) vegetables
· ½ cup of cooked or canned (no added salt) beans, peas or lentils
· 1 cup of green leafy vegetables or green salad vegetables (raw)
· 1 small-medium tomato
· 1 small or ½ a medium potato or equivalent starchy vegetable such as sweet potato, sweet corn, taro or cassava.
5 ways to get munching more
· Have fruit smoothies or cereal with fruit for breakfast instead of toast
· Make sure you include vegetables in both your lunch and dinner
· Have fruit as a snack or as a dessert if you are hungry after dinner
· Snack on vege sticks or cherry tomatoes during the day
· Incorporate more interesting salads into your day
Orange you glad I posted this?
Enjoy, Ash xx