Not getting enough

 

More than 95 per cent of Australians are not getting enough vegetables.

Our kids are even worse, fewer than half a per cent are eating the recommended minimum for vegetables. That's according to our own National Nutrition & Physical Activity Survey (NNPAS), and based on Australian Dietary Guidelines.

Although we're not smoking and drinking as much as we used to, we are fatter and unhealthier than ever before in our recorded history - the incidence of type-2 diabetes and obesity has never been higher.

If more than 95% of Australians don't eat their vegetables, that means most of us also don't get enough of the right fibre.

One of the clearest links in health science is the relationship between a poor intake of natural fibre and high incidence of illness.

So this week we'll look at exactly how to get the recommended minimum, easily, naturally.

Digestive workout...

Naturally occurring fibre from vegetables is a key part of maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding disease as we age. In fact, a high fibre intake from plant-based sources is the secret to a lean, healthy body.

Your dose of vegetables each day is essentially your digestive system's workout. When you haven't exercised in a while most people will feel lethargic, sluggish and tired. Well imagine what your digestive tract feels like after 20, 30 or more years of never getting enough natural fibre.

Just like our body needs physical activity to remain healthy, our digestive system needs it's dose of natural fibre to remain in good shape. All vegetables are nutrient dense, yet sparse in calories/energy so the digestive system has to workout to process.

Unlike laxative products that teach the body to rely on a artificial signal, the fibre in fruits and vegetables provides gentle bulk in your diet that promotes natural bowel movement over time. A side benefit is a likely fat loss effect from a hard working, healthy metabolism.

How much fibre do I need and what is the best way to get it?

Just 20 grams a day can reduce your risk of heart disease but most of the national recommendations from various countries such as the US and Australia range from 30 to 38 grams a day for men and 25 grams a day for women.

One serving of vegetables equals one cup of raw vegetables or half a cup cooked vegetables. One serving of fruit equals one whole, medium-sized fruit or half a cup of fruit.

One serving of wholegrain equals half a cup of cooked wholewheat pasta or cereals (such as oats, quinoa etc) or one slice of wholegrain bread. In terms of legumes one serving is half a cup of cooked lentils, beans or chick peas.


You can easily achieve 30 grams of fibre each day by eating 3 servings of fruit, 3 servings of vegetables, 2 servings of whole grain foods, and one serving of legumes, such as lentils, kidney, black, lima beans etc.

To achieve 35 grams of fibre, eat 4 servings of fruit, 4 servings of vegetables, 4 servings of whole grain foods, and 1 serving of legumes each day.

Want lots of fast, delicious ways to make sure you and your family are getting their fibre and veggies?

Get lots of free recipes and ideas in Shar's blog, What Do I Eat.