This week results of a strong piece of research indicate those who consume 800g of vegetables and fruits a day (approximately 6 portions of veggies and 4 fruits), are at a significantly lower risk of premature death due to chronic diseases such as heart disease or cancer.
We all know that fruits and vegetables are good for us, but I think these studies go a long way to remind us how important they are, particularly as the media have done a pretty good job of reporting the scientific review in an accurate manner.
Every time we see a study reported it is worth remembering that there are as many if not more poor quality published articles as there are high calibre. When we hear the words ‘a study found’ we may have a tendency to find what follows is going to be gospel. However, science is not as cut and dried, as there can be many problems within research, particularly when it comes to eating patterns and lifestyle. All scientists will tell you this. The best way to navigate this information is to think rationally and listen to your own body. If a study is showing that too much-processed food isn’t good, you know yourself how you feel when you consume high amounts of this and so can understand the truth from the results. Also, many studies have been repeated over and over in different ways demonstrating the same outcomes providing strong evidence.
This particular major review looked at more than 350 studies globally and was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology. As it was a meta-analysis it focused on summarising this large amount of research showing a positive association from eating fruit and vegetables with a decreased risk of specific disease. To find out more about the data and the research please see the links at the bottom of this post.
Media reported views from the public and the initial reaction from most was it would be difficult or in some cases impossible to regularly eat 10 a day. Let’s examine this, is it really that difficult?
Take breakfast, for example, porridge with a banana and berries (2), eggs with tomatoes, mushrooms and beans (3), Weetabix with a banana (1). Then mid-morning, a banana with a handful of almonds or another piece of fruit as a snack (1) Followed by lunch, a homemade soup (1), salad (4-5), leftover stir fry with spinach (4-5), sandwich with tomatoes and spinach and a pot of berries with yoghurt (3). Wow and we still have dinner to go where including onions, carrots, peas broccoli etc. will soon total up to at least 10 a day. The idea is to get into the habit of thinking of your veggies first, what fruits and veggies are going to be in every meal? This includes tinned, frozen and dried as well as pulses e.g. beans, lentils and chickpeas. It is also worth noting that the research showed reduced risks of many diseases when small increases were made, therefore just eating one or two more veggies each day will support your health.
I often make pancakes and am always adapting the recipe to what I have in the cupboards. I have been known to use a variety of different flours, and also adding in berries, banana or even cacao to the mixture, which is lovely. These pancakes seem to work without the egg or chia, although not as bouncy. Enjoy experimenting with this recipe and a range of flavours. Kids love it when you serve lots of little dishes as toppings e.g. coconut, berries, chopped banana, cacao nibs, cranberries, chopped apricots, chopped nuts, maple syrup or date nectar
50g rice, coconut or quinoa or buckwheat flour
40g Gluten free plain flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
half a tsp baking powder
1 egg or 1 tbsp ground chia seeds (soak in 3 tbsp water for 20 minutes)
350 – 400ml coconut or your choice of milk
Whisk all the ingredients together in a large bowl, and ladle a circle of pancake mix into a frying pan. *Make the first one with a little-melted coconut oil or butter, then dry fry the rest. Turn once there are little bubbles on the uncooked side of the pancake.
serve with coconut yoghurt and berries
enjoy them with a little sprinkling of stevia and or lemon juice
cook up some diced apple in a pan with coconut oil until browned and place on top of the pancake (caramelised apple is delicious!)
Have a wonderful week, lots of love and health,