10-A-Day may prevent 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide

Latest research recommends we actually should be eating 10 portions of vegetables and fruit per day! Researchers from Imperial College in London claim that eating this extra fruit and vegetables may prevent 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide. The team found that although even the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day reduced disease risk, the greatest benefit came from eating 800g a day (roughly equivalent to ten portions)

The research team showed eating this volume of plants could deliver a 24 per cent reduced risk of heart disease, a 33 per cent risk reduction or stroke and a 28 per cent reduction in cardiovascular disease. Cancer risk fell by 13 per cent and premature death risk dropped by 31 per cent. 

The study, which was a meta-analysis of all available research in populations worldwide, included up to 2 million people, and assessed up to 43,000 cases of heart disease, 47,000 cases of stroke, 81,000 cases of cardiovascular disease, 112,000 cancer cases and 94,000 deaths.

Here in Ireland, we're not great at prioritising our plants and have a long way to go to achieving the recommended target of 5-A-Day, let alone 10-A-Day! I encourage my clients to really look at their plates at meal times and note how much of their plate is vegetables. I ask them to work on filling half their plates with vegetables not only optimise nutrition but also help with weight management. 

Many of the recipes I post for lunch and evening meals follow this principle of prioritising plants. Here's a great recipe for doing just that!

Vegetarian Chilli 

Serves 8

Ingredients

1 large onions chopped
olive oil
1 teaspoon of cumin powder
2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
2 teaspoons of cocoa powder .. yes the secret ingredient
2 chilli chopped finely
4 bell peppers
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into small hunks
2 tins of mixed beans
3 tins of tomatoes
natural yogurt, grated cheese and fresh coriander/chives for topping

Method
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Add olive oil and onions to a large casserole pot on a medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes and add the spices. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes stirring. Add the chilli, sweet potato and peppers and stir well. Add beans and tomatoes and bring gradually to the boil and then reduce heat down quickly to a simmer for 10 minutes. Put the pot into the oven with lid ajar and cook for 1 hour. If you can leave the chilli sit for a few hours or overnight the flavours develop even better. Reheat before serving. Top with natural yogurt, grated cheese and fresh coriander and or chives and serve in a bowl with a big plate of salad!