When it comes to getting enough vegetables in our diet—many of us fall short of the daily recommended amount of 5-6 servings[i].
In fact, according to Nutrition Australia, Australians of all ages on average have a poor diet with only 4% of us who meet these vegetable requirements[ii].
With this week marking National Nutrition Week—Nutrition Australia is encouraging healthy eating by educating consumers on how to try for five servings of vegetables through food waste management and breaking stereotypical vegetable consumption habits[iii].
This includes learning more about those unassuming bits and bobs of vegetables that are often overlooked as edible and discarded as waste; we’re talking about the skins, stalks and leaves.
Here to share his top tips is Pharmacist and Community Herbalist Gerald Quigley—who takes us through his guide to getting the most out of what you’re eating in addition to natural supplementation.
To maximise your nutritional intake, try leaving your peeler in the drawer next time you cut and cook up your vegies. A big bonus of eating unpeeled vegetables is that they contain insoluble fibre, which helps reduce our absorption of cholesterol[iv], as well as helping us stay fuller for longer.
For example, potato skin contains more iron and potassium[v]—something we’d be missing out on if we removed the skin. You can try baking potato skin in the oven without oil to make healthy and tasty chips. Eggplant is another vegetable that has very nutritious skin. The purple glow of the eggplant is packed with a power antioxidant called nasunin, which may help fight aging and has anti-inflammatory properties[vi].
Many stalks bring even more nutrients to your diet than the actual vegetable itself[vii]. This is especially true for broccoli and cauliflower. The stalks have more fibre, vitamin C and calcium than the floret portions of the vegetable[viii], and make for a crunchy snack with dip or steamed and incorporated in soups or pastas.
Not largely known, but those celery leaves are packed with nutrients! They contain five times more calcium and magnesium than the actual stalk[ix], which is great for bone health[x] and overall energy[xi]. You can try sautéing them or adding them to a salad for an extra nutritional kick.
Another unassuming vegetable that has nutritious leaves is beet leaves—they have a higher percentage of antioxidants, fibre, calcium and iron than the popular purple bulb portion[xii].
Some people find that natural supplementation is also great for boosting your body’s ability to get the most energy and nutrients out of their diet. Options for this include Ubiquinol (the active form of CoQ10)—it is a potent antioxidant found naturally in our bodies and supports healthy energy synthesis[xiii]. Diet is an important factor for overall health, and supplements that are rich antioxidants like Ubiquinol may help individuals on a cellular level to derive the most from their foods.
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