Here’s a scary statistic for you. In the 2019 edition of Health Facts in Hong Kong, the HK government tells us that almost 80% of all Hong Kong adults are missing out on one of the most important lifestyle choices regarding nutrition that you can make for good health.
“Inadequate daily fruit and vegetable intake (less than 5 servings per day) – Males = 84.2%, Females = 74.8%, Both Sexes = 79.2%”
While it’s good to see that females are making slightly better choices, it’s pretty horrifying to a doctor who specializes in holistic health to see these numbers. For example, I wrote recently on how just two servings of dark leafy greens daily could significantly reduce your risk of dementia. This “trick” for reducing your brain age is important with our ageing population, but it’s clear that healthy consumption of vegetables and fruits is at a very low level.
Vegetables are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, dietary fiber, folate, vitamin A, vitamin K, and vitamin C. Certain fruits are really rich in antioxidants that are essential for detoxifying your body, which is important in a big city like Hong Kong, with toxins in the air we breathe. Eating plenty of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower even seems to reduce the risk of certain cancers.
I could go on and on, but the short version is that getting at least 5 servings of vegetables and fruits is a no-brainer for anyone who wants to stay healthy in Hong Kong… yet four out of five people are failing to take care of themselves with this basic nutrition.
5 Nutritionist’s Tips For Increasing Fruit and Vegetable Consumption
1- Use Fruits and Vegetables As Snacks
Prepping in advance is the key to making this work. Whether it’s cleaning some carrots or celery so they’re easy to grab, keeping a bowl of pre-washed fruit on the counter to tempt your appetite, or even (as a friend of mine does) keeping a cabbage on the counter so she can grab a few leaves as a crunchy snack, having your fruits and veggies easy to see and grab is key.
2 – Soups, More Soups!
It’s easy to incorporate really healthy veggies into soups, and a cup of soup can be a tasty addition to a meal, or even a handy between-meal snack.
3 – Don’t Forget Fermented Veggies!
Fermented vegetables can be one of the healthiest things you can feed your gut bacteria.
4- Smoothies, Healthy Smoothies
Add frozen fruit and veggies to your smoothies. In fact, you can prep “smoothie bags” so that the whole thing is ready to go straight from the freezer, and all you need to add is liquid and give it a spin in the blender for a tasty and power-packed nutrition booster.
5 – Keep Salads Frequent And Interesting For Great Nutrition
There are so many things you can add to a salad to keep it interesting, tasty, and nutritionally-rich. Seeds, nuts, fruit, dried fruit, berries, coconut flakes, hard-boiled eggs… if your salads are boring, take a couple of minutes to Google the possibilities.
If your nutrition choices have been a little lax because of your busy lifestyle, I invite you to take a moment to consider the long-term costs and consequences… and if you really need some extra help making the right choices, of course we can offer you personal nutrition counselling here at our Hong Kong holistic health clinic.