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From very early on in life to well into adult hood we are repeatedly told to eat our fruit and vegetables for good health. Recent research published in the Lancet has highlighted exactly how much we should be eating to reduce cardiovascular disease risk and overall mortality.

Similarly, until recent times we have been told to limit overall fat intake in favour of carbohydrates. A second report from the same researchers challenges this dietary advice.

The study followed 135 335 individuals aged between 35 to 70 years without cardiovascular disease for approximately 7.5 years. At baseline and every 3 years during the study period, participants underwent dietary assessments including food frequency questionnaires.

The first report looked at the association between fruit, vegetable and legume intake and cardiovascular disease and found:

  • Higher total fruit, vegetable and legume intake with inversely associated with major cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and death
  • Intake of 3 to 4 servings per day of fruit, vegetable and legumes (equal to 375-500g) was as beneficial as higher amounts of intake in reducing total death rates
  • Both cooked and raw vegetables provide benefit but raw may offer slightly more

The second paper using the same study population looked at the association between fats and carbohydrate intake and cardiovascular disease. Results of the study showed:

  • Carbohydrate intake (more then 60% energy) was associated with an adverse impact on total mortality and non-cardiovascular disease mortality
  • High fat intake (including saturated, polyunsaturated and mono unsaturated fats) was associated with lower risk of total mortality, non-cardiovascular disease mortality and saturated fat with associated with lower stroke risk
  • The report suggested that the findings do not support current recommendations to limit total fat intake to less than 30% energy and saturated fat intake to less than 10% energy

The good news for us is that 3-4 servings of fruits, vegetables and legumes per day is very achievable and we are developing a greater understanding of the beneficial role healthy fats can play when it comes to health.

If you have feared fats for some time and are looking for simple ways to incorporate more healthy fats into your meals, one of my favourite recipes is my turmeric, macadamia and lime crumbed snapper, enjoy!

Turmeric, Macadamia and Lime Crumbed Snapper with Honey Ginger Carrots

 Tip: this recipe is equally delicious using chicken thigh or salmon in replace of snapper if preferred.

Serves: 2

Pre: 10-15 minutes

Cooking: 15 minutes

Dairy Free


2x150g snapper fillets, skin on

1 egg, lightly beaten

¾ cup wholemeal breadcrumbs

¼ cup macadamia nuts

1 tbsp. fresh grated lime peel

1 clove garlic, grated

2 tsp. turmeric, ground

Chopped parsley, to serve

Honey Ginger Carrots

½ bunch dutch carrots

1 tsp. ginger, grated

1 – 2 tbsp. honey

2 tbsp. EV olive oil


Heat a medium sized pan, add the carrots and cover with olive oil, honey and ginger and cook for 10 – 12 minutes.

Grind the macadamias, garlic, turmeric and lime zest in a spice grinder or food processor and combine with breadcrumbs. Dip each snapper fillet in the beaten eggs, transfer to the breadcrumb bowl and cover with the breadcrumb mixture, patting gently to help the crumbs stick firmly.

Pan sear snapper skin for 1 – 2 minutes on each side, serve with the carrots and chopped parsley.


 Dehghan et al 2017, ‘Associations of fats and carbohydrates intake with cardiovascular disease and mortality in 18 countries from five continents (PURE): a prospective cohort study,’ The Lancet, August 2017, S0140-6736(17)32252-3.

Miller et al 2017, ‘Fruit, vegetable, and legume intake, and cardiovascular disease and deaths in 18 countries (PURE): a prospective cohort study,’ The Lancet, August 2017 DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(17)32253-5.