Fruits and vegetables are rich in healthy nutrients like vitamins A and C, folate and potassium, contain gut-healthy fibre, are low in energy/calories, and are virtually free from less desirable nutrients like cholesterol, sugar, sodium and saturated fat.
This is part of why a diet rich in fruit and veg can help manage our weight, lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers, and improve gut health. And in case you needed even more reasons to up your fruit and veg intake, a new 2019 study found that low intakes of fruit is linked to over 520 000 heart disease deaths and more than 1.2 million stroke deaths globally each year.
Low veggie intake is estimated to result in just under 810 000 heart disease deaths and over 210 000 stroke deaths.
Smiles for Smoothies
Despite all the health benefits associated with eating more fruit and veg, getting in the required 5-a-day proves to be pretty tough for most.
Enter the smoothie: a healthy and convenient snack or meal option made from whizzing together plenty of nutritious ingredients from nature like fruit, veg and other natural flavourants like cinnamon, ginger and mint, into one, easy, on-the-go drink.
Because smoothies pack such a nutrient punch, they have loads of health benefits. Fruit and vegetables, especially when eaten with skin, pips and seeds (where edible), contain gut-healthy fiber, making smoothies a great way to get in more fiber.
In addition, if high fiber wholegrains like oats are added to a smoothie, this boosts the fiber content even further. Our gut needs different types of fibers to keep it healthy. Fiber does far more than just keep us regular: it may also play a role in preventing colon cancer.
Fiber may have cholesterol-lowering benefits and it just so happens that foods rich in fiber tend to be low in energy/calories too, assisting with weight loss. Furthermore, fiber-rich foods are naturally nutrient-rich such as fruit and vegetables, boosting our nutrient intake for an overall healthier diet.
For this reason, the South African food-based dietary guidelines recommend that we eat at least five portions (400g) of a variety of fruit and vegetables each day to help meet our fibre needs, along with other fiber-rich foods.
But for even better heart health protection and prevention of premature death, new research recommends eating up to 800g, the same as ten portions of fruit and veg a day.
Another bonus of smoothies is that they are super convenient and can be incorporated into your daily eating plan in many ways and depending on your health goals.
These easy drinks can be a kick start to your day as breakfast. If replacing the energy (calories or kilojoules) you’d otherwise eat in a meal, smoothies may help control energy intake and help with weight loss as an on-the-go lunch meal.
For those who are active and need extra energy to support training and muscle building, smoothies can be a quick grab-and-go snack.
The FitChef Smoothie Difference
Here’s our top 10 reasons why FitChef smoothies are a winner:
- FitChef smoothies are made from a variety of fresh fruit like apple, banana, blueberries, strawberry, orange, and pineapple. The whole, fresh fruit is diced, chopped and blended with other natural ingredients to ensure our smoothies retain as much nutrition and fiber as possible.
- It’s a go for veggies with spinach, carrot, celery, butternut and beetroot blended into FitChef smoothies. This helps keep the nutrient content to the max without affecting the amount of energy (kilojoules/calories). Most of the FitChef smoothies are low in energy and can be included as part of an energy-controlled diet for weight loss.
- Get your fiber fix in a smoothie. FitChef smoothies are fiber-filled as we blend all edible parts of the fruit and veg, like the skins, pips and seeds. Some FitChef smoothies have an added fiber boost from oats, too.
- Variety is the spice of life. FitChef smoothies have an extra kick from natural flavours like lemon juice, mint, ginger, cacao, and healthy fats. This means FitChef smoothies are free from added flavourants.
- FitChef smoothies are free from added colourants.
- FitChef smoothies use natural preservatives from citrus fruit like orange, lemon and grapefruit, and are naturally preservative free.
- The sweetness in FitChef smoothies is natural sweetness from fruit and honey, with no added artificial sweeteners.
- Free from dairy, most FitChef smoothies are vegetarian and vegan friendly and blended together using water. If you want a higher protein meal or snack, shake up your FitChef smoothie with milk, yoghurt, plant-based beverages like soy or almond milk, or even whey protein powder.
- All the FitChef smoothies are naturally low in sodium and, coupled with the potassium naturally found in many fruits and veg, this unique combination is a winner for people with high blood pressure.
- Yummy fats like peanuts, peanut butter, macadamia nuts and avo provide a healthy dose of heart-healthy fats in some of the FitChef smoothies. Healthy fats may help improve good HDL cholesterol, decrease inflammation, and lower heart disease risk.
- Aune D et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer and all-cause mortality – a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. International Journal of Epidemiology. 2017; 46(3): 1029–1056. Available from https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyw319
- Klinder A et al. Impact of increasing fruit and vegetables and flavonoid intake on the human gut microbiota. Food and Function, 2016;4 (7):788-1796. Available from: https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2016/fo/c5fo01096a/unauth/.
- Miller V et al. Estimated global, regional, and national cardiovascular disease burdens related to fruit and vegetable consumption: an analysis from the Global Dietary Database. Current Developments in Nutrition. 2019;3(S1). Available from: https://doi.org/10.1093/cdn/nzz028.FS01-01-19.
- Naude C. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit every day”: a food-based dietary guideline for South Africa. South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2013;26(S), S46-S56. Available from: http://sajcn.co.za/index.php/SAJCN/article/view/745.
- Ndanuko RN et al. Dietary Patterns and Blood Pressure in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Advances in Nutrition. 2016;7(1):76-89. Available from https://doi.org/10.3945/an.115.009753.
- Schwingshackl L et al. Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Changes in Anthropometric Variables in Adult Populations: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies. PLOS One. 2015. Available from https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0140846
- World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF). Wholegrains, vegetables and fruit and the risk of cancer. Available from: https://www.wcrf.org/sites/default/files/Wholegrains-veg-and-fruit.pdf.
- World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF). World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF). Available from: https://www.wcrf.org/sites/default/files/Colorectal-Cancer-2017-Report.pdf