Fruit and vegetables form part of a healthy, balanced diet and can help you stay healthy. It’s important that you eat enough of them – remembering that a ‘portion’ is considered to be approximately 80g of each fruit or vegetable – and evidence shows there are significant health benefits to getting your ‘5-a-day’.
The 5 A Day campaign is based on advice from the World Health Organization (WHO), which recommends eating a minimum of 400g of fruit and vegetables a day in order to lower the risk of serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer.
5 reasons for eating 5 a day:
- Fruit and vegetables are a great natural source of vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamin C and potassium.
- They’re an excellent source of dietary fibre, which can help to maintain a healthy gut and prevent constipation and other digestion problems. A diet high in fibre can also help you to reduce your risk of bowel cancer.
- They can also help to reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer.
- Fruit and vegetables taste delicious and there’s so much variety to choose from. Branching out to be adventurous and trying something new can improve your culinary curiosity.
- Fruit and vegetables are also usually low in fat and calories. That’s why eating them can help you maintain a healthy weight and keep your heart healthy.
Ruth Tongue, nutritionist at FOGA shared her expert advice on why you need to make the most of what the earth has to offer to Woman and Home.” Fruits and vegetables are packed with phytonutrients, which are highly nutritious active compounds within plants. One brilliant group of phytonutrients are carotenoids, which can be found in most orange, yellow or red coloured fruit and vegetables including carrots, peppers and sweet potatoes.”
Ruth explains that these not only have protective effects against cancers but also contain high levels of melanin, the pigment that helps to protect our skin against sun damage.”In addition, studies have found that diets high in carotenoids have positive effects on the texture, clarity, colour, strength, and elasticity of skin!”
Eating your five a day gives you a natural mood boost
As if having glowing skin and energy wasn’t enough of a motivator, research has also shown that eating just one extra portion of fruit and vegetables each day can boost mental wellbeing by the same amount as walking for an additional ten minutes a day. Some studies suggest that deficiencies in nutrients such as pantothenic acid and vitamin B6 could be the cause of depression in those who do not consume enough plant foods.
Almost all fruit and vegetables count towards your 5 A Day. They can be fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced. Potatoes, sweet potatoes and cassava do not count because they mainly contribute starch to the diet.
FitChairboys from WWSET
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is featured in Week Two of our FitChairboys programme. FitChairboys is a completely FREE 12-week programme which is aimed at men and women with a waist size above 38 inches (for men) or 31 inches (for women), and a BMI of over 28. The people who get the most from this programme are those who are looking to lose weight, get fitter and lead a more active life.
In this second week, our team will ask you to keep a food diary throughout the week and introduce the idea of the ‘Eat Well Plate”, which is a handy guide to portion control. What you can and can’t eat whilst maintaining a healthy diet often surprises people, and we learn about portions of starchy foods, fruits and vegetables, proteins, carbohydrates, fat and the hidden calories in dairy products.
If you want to benefit from the physical and mental health benefits of living a healthier life, make sure you eat your 5 A Day, and join us for FitChairboys! For information and to sign up to the programme, click here.
‘I thoroughly enjoyed the sessions, I liked the classroom part, in which I gained a lot of helpful knowledge which aided me with my weight loss and improved my eating habits. We had a great group of guys which made the interaction in the lessons much easier. The physical side was very good and catered for all of us guys who were at different levels of fitness and some including myself carrying old injuries. Every week there was something different and I have taken parts from most of the sessions to create my own plan which I have been carrying out at home”, said Graham, Fit Chairboys participant in 2021.