Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge for aviation professionals. As a race we are getting bigger; we are more than ever exposed to processed foods high in fat and sugar; we live sedentary lifestyles; and we are increasing the likelihood of loosing our medical or getting sick.

The key to a healthy and balanced diet is enjoying a variety of nutritious foods from each of the five food groups every day. This means eating a balanced diet that includes wholegrain foods like bread and cereals, lean meats, low-fat dairy or alternatives, fruit and lastly, and probably most importantly, a wide variety of vegetables. Dietary guidelines suggest eating five serves of vegetables every day. Vegetables such a key component of a healthy and balanced diet. Here are a few reasons why:

Eating vegetables is good for your health

Vegetables are good for you. We all know that – it’s drummed into us from when we are children.

Eat your broccoli! Finish your beans! Don’t forget your carrots. There’s good reason for this. Eating a variety of vegetables every day has multiple health benefits. Vegetables are high in fibre, and we need fibre to keep our digestive systems working well. Vegetables are also packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Fresh is best, but frozen and canned vegetables have health benefits too.

Tip: Leave the skin on vegetables like carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes to get the full nutritional benefits.

Eating a variety of vegetables is even better for your health

Different vegetables have different benefits, which is why it’s important to enjoy a variety of vegetables in your diet. Of course, variety also keeps things interesting – your plate is more colourful, and your tastebuds will be rewarded.

Tip: Aim to buy and eat vegetables in a range of colours – different coloured vegetables have different health properties.

Eating vegetables can help you lose weight

Vegetables are low in energy, so eating a diet that is high in vegetables can help you lose weight. For example, halving the portion of mince in a bolognese sauce, and replacing it with mushrooms, carrots, or zucchini, will lower the energy component of the meal. Snacking on vegetables like cucumbers, celery and carrot rather than crisps, could help you achieve your weight loss goals sooner.

Tip: For maximum benefit, steam, bake or stir fry vegetables rather than deep fry.

Eating vegetable can reduce your risk of disease

Vegetables aren’t just good for you. They have a protective factor as well. A diet that is high in vegetables can reduce your risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. For example, evidence suggests that eating a variety of vegetables daily can:

  • Decrease your risk of developing cardiovascular disease
  • Decrease risk of weight gain
  • Decrease risk of site-specific cancers.

Tip: Aim for a few meat free meals a week or try replacing meat with legumes.

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