Eating seven or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day is healthier than the minimum five currently recommended and would prolong lives, experts say.
A study of 65,226 men and women indicated the more fruit and vegetables people ate, the less likely they were to die - at any given age.
Seven a day cut the risk of dying from cancer and heart disease.
The clear message here is that the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the less likely you are to die at any age”
End Quote Dr Oyinola Oyebode Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, UCL
But the government says its "five-a-day" advice is sufficient and that many of us struggle to achieve even this.
The five-a-day message is based on advice from the World Health Organization
WHY HAVE DAILY FRUIT & VEGETABLES?
Fruit and vegetables are great for health so try to gradually increase your intake. Here are some reasons why you should add colour to your meal plate with fruit and vegetables:
They make a great low calorie snack,
Kinder to your teeth than sweet biscuits,cakes and fizzy drinks . Sticky dried fruit and fruit juices eaten too much and too often can cause tooth decay so better to have have them with food at meal times,
Contain vitamins A.C.E,minerals and Fibre
Vitamins A.C.E are anti oxidants nutrients that protect against cancer and heart disease. They are needed for healthy muscles,nerves,bones and blood vessels.
Helps achieve healthy weight
Helps bowel movement so you are less constipated
Makes food meal plate more attractive
Increases intake of variety of nutrients
Strengthens your immunity
Provides you more good energy
One portion can be:
One piece of large fruit e.g half a grape fruit,a wedge of of melon, a couple of rings of pineapple
One whole medium sized fruit e.g apple, orange or banana
One tablespoon of dried fruits-dates,sultanas,
2-3 tablespoons of cooked or canned fruit
A couple of small fruits-2 small plums or apricots
A cupful of berries or grapes,
one small glass (150ml )of unsweetened fresh fruit juice or fruit or vegetable smoothie,
2-3 tablespoon of cooked or canned fruit in own juice,
3 tablespoon of cooked, frozen or canned vegetables or side salad
Don't count :potatoes,a glass of squash,fruit yoghurt or fruit jam.
Remember to drink adequate daily fluids if you are thinking of increasing your fruit and vegetables. Recommended is 6-8 cups (250ml) per day
HAVING TROUBLE EATING FRUIT & VEGETABLES?
If you find it hard to try fruit and vegetables why not try using a new psychological technique called EXPOSURE which is recommended for young children in the national MEND programme. Exposure means getting to try a new food 10-15 times before you actually start to eat more of it.
Steps of exposure technique:
Select a new type of fruit or vegetable that you want to try to start eating, cut the food into small bite size pieces,
Then hold the food, look at the colour, shape, texture, smell it, lick it and place it in your mouth, don't worry if you don't eat it first time.You may need try the same fruit or vegetable few times before you become familiar with the taste and you actually want to bite and eat it.
You can try this technique with your friends who may not like fruit and vegetables too and share trying a new food each week. Chart how many attempts you make and never give up. If at first you do not succeed try try again.
Rewarding yourself is also important once you are successful. E g Have a warm bath, having your hair and nails done.
Your taste buds will adapt over time and increased exposure
Some simple ways to increase fruit and vegetables at home :
Keep a bowl of fruit handy
Add to breakfast in cereal, on top of toast, in yoghurt
Fresh ,frozen, tinned in juice all good . Bought pre -washed and pre-cut are more expensive and go off quickly
Experiment with new type
variety is good
Go easy on sauces but garnish with herbs and spices
Add to dishes e.g curries,stews,casseroles,soups,cakes, scones and muffins
Use as garnish