It’s Nutrition and Hydration week 2022 from Monday 14th – Sunday 20th March, so to help raise awareness of the importance of eating and drinking well, here’s a few facts and tips to help you understand why 5 a day is important.
One part of a healthy diet for most people is ensuring enough fruit and vegetables are consumed. Since weaning from milk, children are told to make sure they eat their fruit and veg, and unfortunately sometimes the nagging can put the subject of fruit and veg in the boring category – something that impacts the relationship with food for the rest of their lives. It is important to find a way of incorporating fruit and vegetables into meals every day, but why?
Apart from vitamin B12, fruit and vegetables contain all your vitamins from A-K. Because fruit and vegetables are also the main source of vitamins, there are several diseases which can be prevented with adequate intake. The minimum target is 5 portions a day (or 400g) in the UK.
One study found that consuming just half this amount (200g, or two and a half portions) is associated with:
- a 16% reduced risk of heart disease
- an 18% reduced risk of stroke
- a 13% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
- a 4% reduced risk in cancer risk
- and 15% reduction in the risk of premature death.
This is in comparison to people eating poor diets.
Further benefits were observed with higher intakes. Eating up to 800g fruit and vegetables a day – or 10 portions – was associated with:
- a 24% reduced risk of heart disease
- a 33% reduced risk of stroke
- a 28% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
- a 13% reduced risk of total cancer
- and a 31% reduction in dying prematurely.
Fewer than one in three UK adults are thought to meet their 5 a day.
Here’s some help get to your target:
Fruit and vegetables can be fresh, frozen, canned or juiced.
Add one or two portions of either fruit or vegetables to each of your three meals as this will help you to reach the goal quicker
Try juicing your fruit and vegetables if you are on the go. One 150ml glass of juice can be classed as one of your 5 a day
One 30g portion of dried fruit counts as your 5 a day so you can stock up on some snack bags for when your need a pick me up.
Try freezing your fruit and vegetables if you are struggling to shop as much. Most freeze really well!
Anyone not able to meet their vitamin requirements in the short or long term should consider food supplements to bridge the gap.
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