“Eat your veggies so you can grow up to be big and strong”. How many of you remember those words when you were a child? Probably most of you. But really, how important are vegetables?

Well, now that you’re an adult, are you eating your veggies? In this article I will be explaining why you need to eat more vegetables.

As adults we know the importance of eating a balanced diet but unfortunately most of us don’t follow that advice. Our body is very resilient, it can usually cope for years without proper nutrition – and herein lies the problem! Most people eat a poor diet and get away with it for years. But then bit by bit (or sometimes more like a sledgehammer!) the health issues start to appear. A bit of stiffness in your joints, maybe some hayfever or eczema or asthma, an autoimmune condition, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart problems, feeling tired all the time – the list goes on and people often think “I’m just getting older”.

Most people don’t seem to consider that maybe – just maybe – their body is losing its ability to cope without the nutrients it needs. We literally are what we eat (and what we absorb!) so how can we possibly expect our body to cope for years without the correct fuel? Too much sugar, too many grains, too many processed foods, too much alcohol, too much stress (which has an extremely negative impact on how we digest our food), too many antibiotics and, you guessed it, NOT ENOUGH VEGGIES. So this reason alone answers the question: How important are vegetables? Still not convinced? Read the facts below.

The facts:

The International Journal of Epidemiology published a meta-analysis of 95 studies on vegetable and fruit intake. The report concluded that eating 10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day could prevent 7.8 million premature deaths each year.

Eating up to 800g fruit and vegetables a day – or 10 portions – was associated with:

  • a 24 per cent reduced risk of heart disease
  • a 33 per cent reduced risk of stroke
  • a 28 per cent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
  • a 13 per cent reduced risk of total cancer
  • and a 31 per cent reduction in dying prematurely

This risk was calculated in comparison to not eating any fruit and vegetables.

After taking into account various factors such as weight, smoking habits, physical activity levels and overall diet, the benefits of fruit and vegetables remained.

One portion of fruit or vegetables was defined as 80 grams – so a total of 800 grams per day. BUT, be careful – the recommended amount of fruit was 1-2 portions per day because of its high sugar content.

The team found that the best fruit and vegetables for reducing the risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, heart disease and premature death were apples, pears, citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts).

They also found that increased intake of green, yellow and cruciferous vegetables produced the greatest reduction in cancer risk.

That’s a lot of vegetables! How do you eat that many?

For some clever and sneaky ways to get more vegetables into your diet, read my latest article on how to increase your vegetable intake

How many vegetables do you eat each day? Let me know in the comments section below