There are currently four in five Australians not eating enough vegetables on a daily basis. Whilst stats like this aren’t exactly new, it is no less concerning. Given the many wondrous things we know vegetables do for our health. A recent study however has found spicing it up to eat more veggies may be the key to hitting that five servers per day.
Spicing it up to eat more veggies
A new study out of Chicago may have found a delicious way to combat this; through use of herbs and spices.
Recommending addition of these nutrient packed dynamos is something which most dietitians recommend routinely. If you use spices and herbs to add flavor to your dishes, then you’re not adding sodium (salt), sugar or fat. Plus, you’re getting all the other wonderful benefits provided by the antioxidants and polyphenols they contain. Herbs and spices have properties that help improve inflammation, reduce cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Many have antimicrobial properties too.
This particular study looked at who was using herbs and spices based on age, gender and ethnicity. Why is this important? Because there is potential differences between these segments of the population, and knowing this can help health professionals target recommendations more easily. For example, older participants in the study were less likely to use spices and herbs like cayenne pepper or coriander, or other spices with stronger flavours. They were more likely to choose much milder flavours.
Further to this, better skills with cooking vegetables were required across most of the groups examined in the study. Improved confidence in ability to both cook vegetables, and include herbs and spices along with this is likely to result in higher use.
How to include them
Some of my favourite ways of including herbs and spices include my favourite turmeric salmon , where the turmeric is mixed with olive oil and pepper to make a paste, or these Roast Vegetables with Paprika and Garlic, where the herbs and spices are simply sprinkled over the dish prior to cooking. Or, these pork and lentil lettuce cups which burst with flavour from the use of coriander, chilli and garlic.
What are your favourite ways to flavour your food?
I spoke about this very topic recently on Talking Lifestyle with Ed Phillips. Tune in each Monday at 1.20pm, EST for our weekly chats on all things nutrition.