We welcome our resident Nutritionist, Melanie Ryan from Nourishness, with her fresh tips on getting more veggies into your day…
We are all hearing the message to eat more vegetables. What, why, how? Good questions!
What? Plenty of vegetables, including different types and colours, and legumes/beans in your daily diet will help meet your daily nutrient requirements. “Eat a rainbow” is a catch cry that encourages people to think about the variety of vegetables they put on their plates.
Having a healthy diet and leading a healthy lifestyle is an energy balance equation. You need to balance the food you are eating with the amount of activity you are doing on a daily basis to ensure optimal health. Having a plentiful amount of vegetables at most meals can mean there is less room for fatty, salty or too sweet foods, those foods which don’t have much to offer us except lots of kilojoules.
Why? At a recent Nutrition Society of Australia event on Diet and Inflammation in Melbourne, many researchers* presented study results which added to the collection of evidence pointing to the advantage of vegetable and legume consumption. The Mediterranean diet favours vegetables (leafy greens, tomatoes, onion etc.), legumes, wholegrains, fruit, fish and seafood, fermented dairy (cheese and yoghurt), with a limited intake of red meat and sweets. A diet such as this reduces the likelihood of inflammatory disease which is associated with obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and possibly depression, because it encourages a healthy gut microbiota.
Environmental concerns about particular farming practices are another reason for some people to swing towards more vegetarian and vegan meals, and/or a reduced consumption of meat but with a focus on that produced in a more environmentally responsible way.
How is the best bit! Look at the vegetables in your preferred shop. Look for firm, bright ones, those in season are usually the best flavoured and best priced too. Try something new each week or so. If you aren’t sure about a new one the first time, try it differently next time. Why not make a spring pea or broad bean bruschetta for breakfast, even top it with an egg! How about a salad of baby spinach, baby beetroot leaves and avocado to serve with fish, or for vegetarians add some chickpeas or labne to the salad. And another idea, try replacing two meat meals a week with two legume based meals….
Here are some delicious veggie-based Foodcentric recipes to get you going!
Melanie Ryan is a qualified nutritionist and home economist with over 20 years of experience, and a member of the Nutrition Society of Australia. She is passionate about educating members of the community in practical ways of preparing food in a delicious and nutritionally sound way that contributes to their good health.
Melanie has been involved in various community programs including working with parents and children to manage a healthy weight, and speaking with mothers, babies and young children newly arrived to Australia about healthy food habits. She is an accomplished recipe developer which is a great advantage when it comes to translating scientific nutrition principles into real life actions.
*Dr. Hannah Mayr, La Trobe University and Bond University
The dietary inflammatory index as a novel dietary score to measure the inflammatory potential of one’s diet
Professor Sarah Mc Naughton, Deakin University
Diet and inflammation: applications and perspectives from epidemiology
Dr. Simone Gibson, Monash University
The complexities of translating theory into practice-SLR evidence and the public perceptions of diet and inflammation
Associate Professor George Moschonis, La Trobe University
Obesity, inflammation and iron deficiency triangle in children
Dr. Laurence Macia, University of Sydney
Impact of diet and gut microbiota on inflammatory disease
Dr. Wolfgang Marx, Deakin University
Food and mood: Exploring the link between diet, inflammation and mental health