Variety is the spice of life

People living in Okinawa, Japan, and around the Mediterranean region, particularly Greece, are some of the longest lived in the world.1-4 Although these countries have different cultures and cuisines, one thing common to both is the vast variety of different foods they consume. 

Benefits of food variety

The first Australian dietary guideline is to enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods.5  Food variety refers to the number of nutritionally distinct types of foods, including various processed forms of food, we consume in a given time period. 

Greater variety means exposure to a wider range of foods, each with unique combinations of nutrients (macronutrients, vitamins and minerals), as well as natural plant chemicals. 

These chemicals give rise to the colours, tastes, textures and aromas of different foods, such as the colourful pigments of fruits and vegetables, the