World Health Day: Investing in Vegetables is a Win-Win-Win

April 5, 2013
77 Views

nutrition world health day

April 7th is World Health Day. This year focuses on high blood pressure, one of the many diseases increasing across both the industrialized and developing worlds. Food Tank is hosting a week of informative posts about how personal and large-scale changes in both food and agriculture systems can address these diseases.

nutrition world health day

April 7th is World Health Day. This year focuses on high blood pressure, one of the many diseases increasing across both the industrialized and developing worlds. Food Tank is hosting a week of informative posts about how personal and large-scale changes in both food and agriculture systems can address these diseases.

The Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN) reports that eating vegetables can help prevent heart disease. Similar studies from The Organic Center and the United States Department of Agriculture also report that getting four-to-six servings of vegetables every day can reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, obesity, and some cancers. So what is it that makes vegetables so powerful?

Vegetables are some of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet, with large amounts of nutrients in relatively few calories. They are particularly good sources of micronutrients, including vitamin A, iron, and iodine. These nutrients are only required in small amounts, but they are critical for human health and missing from the diets of around 2 billion people worldwide. Micronutrient deficiencies lead to poor mental and physical development among children, as well as poor performance in work and school. AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center also estimates that nutrient deficiencies cause millions of deaths each year.

“The key need is for balanced diets,” says AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center Director General Dyno Keatinge. “Vegetables are our best source of the vitamins, micronutrients, and fiber the human body requires for health. They add much-needed nutritional diversity to diets.”

But that’s not all. Vegetables are also valuable for adapting to and mitigating climate change. According to BCFN’s Double Pyramid, vegetables, along with grains and fruit, should form the foundation of diets that increase health, reduce carbon emissions, and protect the environment. Vegetables are also often less affected by extreme weather than staple crops, because they typically have shorter growing times. 

In addition, smallholder family farmers make more money per acre growing vegetables than staple crops. Farmers working with AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center in Bangladesh are making 8 times as much money growing tomatoes than they could growing rice. Labor-intensive vegetable production also provides more jobs for rural communities, especially women. 

Indigenous and heirloom vegetables are particularly rich in micronutrients, and they are also usually more resistant to pests, disease, and drought. Around the world, Slow Food International is working with farmers and communities to revive both traditional recipes and growing practices that support indigenous vegetable crops.

With all these benefits, vegetables are key to nourishing both people and the planet. Meatless Mondays are already popular, but maybe its time for a day that is not just meat-less but vegetable-more, encouraging people to celebrate these nutritious, sustainable, and profitable food sources every week.

Original Post

You may be interested

Healthcare Tech Advances That All Clinics Should Use
Medical Devices
461 views
Medical Devices
461 views

Healthcare Tech Advances That All Clinics Should Use

Dennis Hung - August 12, 2017

Healthcare will always be important to employees and the government since the issues surrounding healthcare are inherently ethical and moral…

Balancing Smart Data With Cybersecurity for Hospitals
Hospital Administration
453 views
Hospital Administration
453 views

Balancing Smart Data With Cybersecurity for Hospitals

Kayla Matthews - August 11, 2017

It should come as no surprise that your discussions and interactions with physicians and health professionals influence diagnoses, prescriptions, visit…

4 Ways to Halt Testosterone Problems After 40
Wellness
469 views
Wellness
469 views

4 Ways to Halt Testosterone Problems After 40

JohnHenning - August 10, 2017

Among men of all ages, testosterone is an important hormone for regulating health. Men over the age of 65 tend…