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Veg your bets on health

C’mon guys. Eat your vegetables.

C’mon guys. Eat your vegetables.

Most of us still don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables to fend off major diseases, according to a new study done at Concordia University in Montreal. In particular, men, smokers and those with low incomes are at risk.

The World Health Organization has reported that eating five servings daily of fruit and vegetables helps in preventing diabetes, obesity, stroke and high blood pressure. Canadians, on average, fall just short of that.

“This study emphasizes the importance of eating sufficient fruits and vegetables,” says lead author Mesbah Sharaf, a PhD candidate at Concordia. “It helps to identify the groups that need to be targeted for nutrition promotion policies aimed at encouraging fruit and vegetable consumption.”

Sharaf and his team used a sample of 93,719 people from the 2007 Canadian Community Health Survey. They used statistical models to find out what lifestyle factors determine fruit and vegetable consumption.

The groups that need to work on healthier nutrition habits are those with a low income, those with low education, males, middle-aged people, singles, smokers, people with weak social interaction and adults who live in households with no children.

Quebec, which has a long history of farming, came out on top for fruit and vegetable consumption, compared to other provinces.

Looking to kick-start adding more veg into your routine? Try veggie-packed Muffuletta condiment

The hero-style sandwich condiment known as muffuletta would be a wonderful snack to serve to skiers, skaters and tobogganers this winter season.

A specialty of New Orleans, the sandwich is said to have originated in 1906. It consists of a round loaf of crusty Italian bread split horizontally and filled with an assortment of marinated olives and vegetables, deli meats and cheese.

The condiment in this recipe can be used in the sandwich or served on crisps partnered with soft goat cheese.

The ingredient Sambal oelek is a sauce made with chili peppers.


• 175 ml (3/4 cup) green olives stuffed with pimento

• 50 ml (1/4 cup) kalamata olives, pitted

• 50 ml (1/4 cup) artichoke hearts

• 50 ml (1/4 cup) sun-dried tomatoes, softened

• 1/8 red onion

• 15 ml (1 tbsp) capers, drained

• 2 cloves garlic

• 2 anchovy fillets

• 50 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil

• 1 ml (1/4 tsp) sambal oelek

• 5 ml (1 tsp) balsamic vinegar

• 15 ml (1 tbsp) chopped fresh rosemary

• 15 ml (1 tbsp) chopped fresh parsley

• 1 ml (1/4 tsp) dried oregano

• 1 ml (1/4 tsp) freshly ground pepper

• Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


Finely chop green and kalamata olives, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, onion, capers, garlic and anchovies. Place in a bowl and stir to combine. Add oil, sambal oelek, vinegar, rosemary, parsley, oregano and pepper; stir again. Season with salt and pepper.

– The Canadian Press/Lesley Stowe Find Foods

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