We have a big birthday this year – the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet online turns 10! Cue the cake cutting, or the chocolate brownies in our case (but more on that later).
Happy birthday us!
Do you know what scientists like more than cake? Data!
As you can imagine, ten years of tracking members’ food and activity habits has revealed some interesting insights into Australians’ eating and exercise preferences.
Over the past 10 years, our members have tracked eating more than 960,000 bananas. This is more than double the number of avocados eaten, our runner up in the top tracked foods. And really, it’s no wonder that bananas were the favourite food. They really pack a punch when it comes to health benefits.
A tasty ‘golden’ ticket to good health
Firstly, bananas are a potassium powerhouse. This essential mineral is like a superhero for your heart. It helps to counteract sodium (salt) to regulate your blood pressure and keep your ticker in top-notch condition. Just one banana can provide around 400 mg of potassium.
But that's not all – bananas are also a fantastic source of vitamins, particularly vitamin C and vitamin B6. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that supports your immune system and helps your body absorb iron. Vitamin B6 is crucial for brain development and function.
Need an energy boost without the crash? Bananas are nature's energy bars, thanks to their natural sugars (glucose, fructose, and sucrose) and a healthy dose of fibre. This combo makes them a fantastic choice for a quick pick-me-up that won't leave you reaching for the biscuit tin an hour later.
Walking the talk
What about movement, you say. Our members did a lot of that over the last decade too. Swimming, golfing, and dancing were among the go-to ways to get heart rates up. But when it comes to exercise, the clear winner for the last 10 years was walking outdoors. Our members clocked over 22 million minutes of walking out in the fresh air!
There's a lot more to walking than just getting from point A to point B. This is especially true when you take those steps outside and let nature join the conversation (or song).
First and foremost, let's talk about the physical perks. Walking is a low-impact exercise that doesn’t require membership fees to get started. It's heart-friendly, reducing the risk of heart disease and improving cardiovascular health. The fresh air and vitamin D from the sun are bonuses that boost the immune system, too. Just don’t forget to slip, slop, slap, and slide. Always be sun safe!
So, if you’re looking for a place to start with exercise, lace up those shoes, conduct a sun safety check then hit the pavement.
Who knows, you might even find that your inner radio tuning on to: "I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more, just to be the one who walks a thousand miles to fall down at your healthy, happy door!"
Black bean and dark chocolate brownies
Finally, let’s not forget about the brownies. One of our most popular recipes is our healthy chocolate brownies. They’re chock full of fibre and all the more delicious for it.
Don’t just take our word for it – why not whip up a batch to try yourself?
Serves 6 | Prep: 10 mins | Cook: 20 mins
- 400 grams canned, no added salt black beans
- 80 grams rolled oats 90 grams dark chocolate chips (reserve 30 grams to top)
- 1 extra-large egg
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 125ml (1/2 cup) low fat milk
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean extract
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- A pinch of sea salt
TIP: You will need almost 2 x 400g cans of black beans, drained, to yield 400 grams of black beans for this recipe
- Preheat a fan forced oven to 180°C.
- In a food processor or blender, process the oats into some flour. Place to one side.
- Combine the black beans and olive oil in the food processor or blender, and process until it forms a paste. You shouldn’t have any chunks or whole beans left, as this will effect the consistency of the brownie.
- Return the oat flour to the food processor, along with the bean paste, baking powder, sea salt, cocoa powder, brown sugar, egg and vanilla extract. Process, slowly pouring the milk in until it forms a batter.
- Meanwhile, create a double boiler by placing a glass bowl over a saucepan with a little water in it. Heat over a medium-high flame until the water is boiling. Add 60 g dark chocolate to the bowl and stir regularly until it is melted. Once melted, slowly pour the chocolate into the batter and mix through.
- Pour into a 20 cm x 20 cm square baking tray (or similar) lined with baking paper. Top with the remaining 30 g of dark chocolate chips.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until cooked through. Leave to cool before slicing into six even portions.
CSIRO has licensed the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet to Digital Wellness for the development and management of the Total Wellbeing Diet online program, in collaboration with the Glycemic Index Foundation.