Veggie ‘throw together’ salad

The Vital ‘Five-a-Day’ Vegetable Verdict: A Cornerstone of Daily Nutrition

The adage of eating five servings of vegetables a day has become a well-established dietary goal, and its importance is grounded in a wealth of nutritional research.

This recommendation, endorsed by the World Health Organization, is based on evidence that a diet rich in vegetables (and fruits) can lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, certain types of cancer, and obesity. Vegetables are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants, which play a pivotal role in maintaining health and well-being.

Eating a variety of vegetables ensures a wide spectrum of nutrients.

The fibre in vegetables, for instance, helps regulate the digestive system, can lower cholesterol levels, and is associated with a lower incidence of heart disease. It’s also satiating, aiding weight management by reducing the overall energy intake.

Antioxidants in vegetables, such as beta-carotene, lutein, and selenium, combat oxidative stress and inflammation, reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Moreover, the high potassium content in many vegetables helps maintain healthy blood pressure, and the folate they provide is key for tissue growth and cell function.

The Cruciferous Crusade: Unlocking the Power of Leafy Greens and Beyond

Delving into the specific benefits of cruciferous vegetables, which include kale, arugula (rocket), spinach, and asparagus, amplifies the narrative on healthful eating.

These vegetables are celebrated for their high levels of glucosinolates, sulphur-containing compounds that, when broken down during digestion, are believed to have cancer-fighting properties. Studies suggest that these compounds may inhibit the growth of cancer cells and could have protective effects against colon, lung, breast, and prostate cancer.

Kale, for instance, is not only high in fibre but also a great source of vitamins A, C, and K and minerals like calcium and iron.

Arugula, with its peppery flavour, is rich in nitrates known to lower blood pressure, improve athletic performance, and enhance blood flow.

Spinach is packed with iron, crucial for creating hemoglobin that carries oxygen in the blood. Asparagus is notable for its high vitamin K content, essential for blood clotting and bone health, and is also a prebiotic, supporting digestive health by promoting beneficial gut bacteria.

Eating a mix of these vegetables can contribute significantly to the recommended five servings, providing a diversity of textures, flavours, and nutrients. The scientific community consistently supports the consumption of these vegetables for their role in disease prevention.

For instance, a large study published in the “International Journal of Epidemiology” found that higher consumption of fruit and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of mortality from all causes, particularly cardiovascular diseases.

Incorporating the ‘magic’ five servings of vegetables into your daily diet can be achieved through various means—a spinach and arugula salad, a side of steamed kale, or roasted asparagus.

This habit is not merely about disease prevention; it’s a commitment to a life filled with vitality, energy, and overall well-being. As dietary patterns shift towards plant-based emphasis, the ‘five-a-day’ vegetable intake is a simple yet profound measure towards achieving optimal health.

Veggie 'throw together' salad

Eating a mix of these vegetables can contribute significantly to the recommended five servings, providing a diversity of textures, flavors, and nutrients.
Servings 1
Calories 343 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the salad

  • 1 Medium sweet potato
  • 120 g Chickpeas drained
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 250 g Asparagus
  • 30 g Spinach
  • 30 g Kale
  • 30 g Rocket

For the dressing

  • 1 tbsp Mustard
  • 1 tbsp Tahini
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Honey

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375F (190C). 
  • Wash and chop the potato into bite-size pieces, then place on a baking tray with the chickpeas.
  • Drizzle with 1 tbsp. Olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 mins. Add the asparagus in the last 10 minutes of roasting. 
  • In the meantime, prepare the dressing by mixing all the dressing.  
  • Place spinach, kale and rocket in a bowl and rub the dressing into the leaves. 
  • Once the roasted veggies are ready, divide the salad between bowls and top with the baked potato, chickpeas and asparagus.
  • Serve hot or cold.
  • PROTEIN BOST: For additional protein, serve this salad alongside grilled chicken.

Notes

Key features

  • Gluten-free
  • Dairy-free
  • Meal prep ready
  • Vegetarian

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