Original post : 4 May 2014

What’s the point of having your ‘Five a Day’?

What’s the point of having your ‘Five a Day’?

Fruit and vegetables should be eaten as part of a daily diet, and ideally between 5 and 7 portions should be eaten a day. People generally don’t believe that they can eat this number so often don’t!  Recent studies have shown that there are still too many people not eating sufficient quantities of fruit and vegetables a day, and as a result may be putting their health at risk. There are significant benefits that arise from eating a varied mix throughout the day.

The reason this quantity should be consumed is that fruit and vegetables contain high concentrations of compounds such as antioxidants.  These show many signs of being beneficial to health.  The main antioxidants are vitamin E and C, and also beta carotene; a precursor to vitamin A (found mainly in brightly coloured fruit and vegetables).  Fruit and vegetables also contain important nutrients.

Overall eating a variety of fruit and vegetables can help to prevent certain diseases such as hypertension (high blood pressure) and coronary heart disease (mainly strokes).  There is no definitive evidence that cancers can be prevented but surely it would do no harm to eat more fruit and vegetables as this might prove to be true.

 

For more information about workshops and talks please contact me on 07706576260 or email me at scl_scotland@yahoo.co.uk

 

Eating a variety of fruit and vegetables also helps to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.  Instead of reaching for a biscuit or another high calorie snack, have a piece of fruit.  If you are trying to lose weight, eating more vegetables is highly recommended.  Raw vegetables such as baby sweetcorn, carrots and cauliflower contain less sugar than fruit.

Fibre is vital in your diet; most people do not eat enough fibre.  Fibre helps to keep the bowels healthy which in turn help to prevent bowel cancer.  By increasing the amount of fibre in the diet, food that may cause health problems is removed quickly by the body.  Constipation is often caused by an inadequate intake of fibre and can be quite painful, particularly if associated with bloating.

Although tinned fruit and vegetables count towards your 5 (or now 7) a day, in studies that were conducted they did not show as high a benefit as fresh fruit and vegetables.  This may be due to the fact that a lot of fruit is canned in syrup (so make sure that you buy them in natural juice), and has fibre such as skin and peel removed.

If you are a person who generally buys frozen or tinned fruit and vegetables, you may wish to take a minute and look at the rest of your diet. Does this come in tins and as ready meals too?  Try to eat as much fresh fruit and vegetables as you can, and try and cook from scratch as many times a week as you can.

 

Hydration status:  Many people do not drink as much fluid (particularly water) as they should and consequently may regularly be mildly dehydrated.  Remember dehydration is already beginning when we feel thirsty.  Fruit and vegetables contain water and as such make a contribution towards hydration levels.

Ways to eat more fruit and vegetables:

Add to your cereal in the morning; make a fruit salad at the beginning of the week and use it for packed lunches, snacking or as a pudding.

Snack on raw vegetables.

Add vegetables to all of your cooking - sauces, bolognaise, curries and casseroles.

Be inventive when cooking vegetables. Boiled vegetables can lose their appeal and become soggy and flavourless.  Try roasting vegetables, using only a little oil. Make vegetable curries or vegetable dhals. Add vegetables to omelettes.

Overall eating fruit and vegetables does not have to be a chore. Try being inventive; have fun and start to notice the difference in your overall wellbeing.

 

For information on talks and workshops please get in touch. Tel:  07706576260 or email:  scl_scotland@yahoo.co.uk

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