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The variety of your food can be as important as the quality of the food in your diet. Eating a wider variety of foods seems to be associated with increased health and a lower risk of developing lifestyle-related diseases (such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and some cancers). Despite the fact that food variety has not been extensively studied so far, the premise is interesting, and quite simple and fun to evaluate, so this is why I’m mentioning it today.
It can be said that a nutritious diet is varied when several ingredients from all the food groups* are consumed frequently. Note that to have good diversity, it is not enough to eat only a few items from each food group, you must eat several different foods. For example, for vegetables, it’s not enough to just eat traditional carrots and potatoes, you’ll also need to include kale, broccoli, artichokes, eggplants, celery, radishes, sweet potatoes, peppers, lettuces, onions, mushrooms, etc.
Each type of food inside a food group provides different micronutrients, including several phytonutrients, hence the importance of variety. No food is necessarily better than another, each type brings something different that we need. If you are wondering which vegetables to prepare for dinner and are choosing between eggplant, carrots, or broccoli, the answer is to prepare all three!
*Food groups are determined by what they offer to the body in terms of micronutrients and macronutrients. For example, meats and alternatives are grouped together since they are a source of protein, whereas fruits are grouped together since they are a source of vitamin C and phytonutrients.