We all know that eating lots of fruit and vegetables, but do you know exactly why this is so important?
We all know the feeling when you do a supermarket dash, you haven’t had chance to think about the meals for the week ahead but you just need to get the shopping in, so fill your basket with the same old staples, broccoli, tomatoes, peas, apples etc. But the key to getting the most out of your weekly from veg is to eat a huge variety, and it is easiest to think of this in terms of eating the rainbow. Each colour of vegetable (purple veg such as aubergines, beetroot etc. are powerful sources of anti-oxidants, but often forgotten!) has different nutrients and anti-oxidants, so get creative!
Vitamin C – This is a biggie for skincare. Did you know that Vitamin C is potentially the most important vitamin needed for Collagen production? Vitamin C is needed to synthesize collagen…and we all want as as much collagen as possible, right? Vitamin C is also a powerful anti-oxidant that helps fight toxins in the body…vital for overall health, and certainly for the glowing complexion we all lust after!
The best sources:
Surprisingly for some, whilst oranges are high in Vit C, other fruit and vegetables have a higher content. Green and red peppers are an excellent way to get a hit of Vitamin C in your evening meal. Fajitas anyone?! Strawberries and broccoli are great sources, and amazingly, the humble potato!
Vitamin E – Aside from being fab for our immune system, Vitamin E is a really key nutrient for skin health. We see it regularly in beauty products, but what does it do for skin? It is a powerful anti-oxidant which helps protect and repair the skin from UV sun damage.
The best sources:
Vegetable oils, nuts and seeds are great for Vitamin E. Red peppers feature highly again, as do kiwi fruits, mangos and avocados. As if we need another excuse to whip up a batch of guacamole?!
Vitamin D – We know we mostly get it from the sun (Our skin is an important natural reservoir for its production, triggered by UV light into synthesis) and that we need it for our immune system, but how does this affect skin health? Well, as it turns out, our immune system is very important if we want glowing skin! Poor immune function can increase inflammation, and decrease insulin sensitivity, leading to conditions like eczema, and rosacea and even make your collagen stiff, leading to premature ageing. Whilst sunlight is important, you can also find it in certain foods…
The best sources:
Whilst fish and eggs are the best sources of Vitamin D in food, mushrooms are also a great way to increase your intake. Mushrooms are so versatile and can be added to so many dishes…so there really is no need to bake yourself in the sun for hours! Regular time outdoors with sunscreen on is fine.
Top tips to make it easy to eat the rainbow:
- Plan ahead: Meal planning may seem like a chore, but it saves huge amount of time and thought later in the week and means that you can really think about how to include a wide variety of fruit and vegetables in your food for the week.
- Swap crisps for vegetables: Whether you want to keep it really healthy and dip cucumbers and carrot batons in your hummus, or make kale or parsnip crisps, you will certainly benefit from the additional nutrients!
- Dips! Guacamole, beetroot hummus or raita, for example… Dips are a great way to sneak extra vegetables into your daily diet, and homemade dips are healthier too.
- Grate fruit and vegetables into your dishes: Whether it is grating apple into your morning porridge, carrot into your lunchtime salad or even beetroot in your cake, there are so many ways that grated fruit and veg can boost your intake effortless!
- Juicing: All the rage at the moment, but it is a really good way to dramatically increase your intake. Just be careful to use more vegetables than fruit to keep it low in sugar.
Challenge yourself this week to add five extra types of fruit or vegetables to your shopping trolley that you don’t usually buy!
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