To eat enough vegetables every day, Van der Whorf believes that the solution is diversification and distribution. “Make sure you eat some vegetables at lunch and dinner, because you’ll only need to eat 125 grams at a time.” It doesn’t have to be a complicated lunch that requires cooking. “Chop a cucumber or pepper, or take some carrots with you to eat alongside your sandwich. A very quick and easy way to eat vegetables.”
Van der Whorff: “Or eat some vegetables as a snack. You can now buy snack vegetables in all supermarkets. Besides being incredibly delicious, you will soon be consuming a significant portion of your daily intake.
Six types of vegetables
Eating a variety of vegetables also affects the risk of depression. An observational study on variation in vegetable consumption showed that people who ate four to six different types of vegetables daily had a 24 to 42 percent lower risk of depression than those who ate fewer than three types of vegetables daily.
Yellow/orange/red vegetables and leafy vegetables in particular show a strong association with a lower risk of depression, possibly due to the specific nutrients they contain. Although this aspect has not been specifically researched, researchers have put forward this hypothesis. “Each vegetable contains different vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients, each with different roles in the body. By eating a varied diet there is a good chance of getting all of these nutrients.
Differ and combine
Moreover, one type of vegetable, such as 250 grams of broccoli, is considered a bit boring, according to Van der Whorf. “Mix broccoli with bell peppers and onions for dinner. It will be tastier and you will reach your daily intake faster.”
To eat as many types of vegetables as possible, in addition to some light vegetables during lunch or a snack, dinner is the perfect opportunity, according to Van der Whorff. “Mixed vegetables can be found in almost all varieties in the supermarket. I sometimes cook with a mixture of frozen vegetables, including eggplant, zucchini and peppers. Three types, really. The soup pan also contains many different types: onions, garlic and pumpkin, for example.” When you prepare chile con carne, you use tomatoes, peppers, corn, onions, and garlic, effectively giving you five types of vegetables.
She sees the fact that the average Dutch person has recently started eating more vegetables as a positive change. However, only 29% appear to eat at least 200 grams of vegetables per day. “This is too bad. People should be more aware that nutrition can have a positive impact on how we feel. I’m not saying vegetables will cure all types of depression, but there is a lot of evidence to suggest they can help prevent it.” “We have to be more aware of this.”
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