If an apple a day is meant to keep the doctor away, it probably won’t be for very long.
We should now be aiming for 7 or more portions of fruit or vegetables a day, say the authors of a large public health study conducted in the UK. Out of the 65,000 adults surveyed in this 7-year study (published 31st March 2014 in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health), it was found that people consuming 7 or more portions of fruit or veg a day had a 42% lower risk of cancer and cardiovascular-related deaths than those eating just one portion or less. Oyinlola Oyebode of University College London and colleagues state that not any form of fruit will do, as canned or frozen fruits actually increased mortality rates by an extra 17% per portion intake. In fact canned fruits and likewise may be offering false reassurance whilst silently tipping the sugar balance. On the plus side, consuming vegetables or salad were found to offer the most protection.
Although the UK recommends eating 5 a day (2 fruits and 3 veggies equating to 400g), Australia already campaigns for 7 a day (2 fruits and 5 veggies). There is a great website (http://www.gofor2and5.com.au/) explaining portion sizes, with great tips and recipes. Likewise the US advises half of your plate should consist of these food groups (http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/dietary-guidelines-for-americans)
Although this study did not consider the link between poverty or socio-economic class with the eating habits of those not consuming enough fruits/vegetables, there is ample scientific evidence promoting the health benefits of these foods. One thing we can do is buy local produce in season. There’s a hefty price associated with imported goods and although we are in an era of “getting whatever we want, whenever we want”, there’s something to be said for buying what’s naturally in season. Not only will you be purchasing cheaper and fresher products, you will also be supporting your local primary industries.
I believe the obvious message here is to try to eat more fruit and vegetables. Yes, we have busy hectic lifestyles with little time to cook elaborate meals for hungry children but every bit helps and the sooner we start these good eating habits the better!
2 thoughts on “Seven is the new Five”
These days it feels like there’s an abundance in advice for how to eat better and eat healthy. There’s so many different diets from various specialists disregarding different food groups and making sure you don’t eat something. The chances are, and I’m most likely generalising here, that the average full blooded steak eating beer drinking man is going to struggle to even get close to 2 fruits and 5 vegetables. Especially seeing that the study regards fresh non-processed produce as significantly better. So salads and barely blanched veg is the key here. Apart from that 5 portions of vegetable is quite large already and most like the people that do eat that much are vegetarians. Would it maybe be suggesting that vegetarianism is healthier?
Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, organic, Atkins, raw-food diet, lactose, fructose-free .. the list is endless! Unless medically advised to avoid certain food groups I don’t think people should be rash in self-diagnosing.
I’m not a vegetarian myself but research does show that a healthy plant-based diet can significantly lower your risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes etc. Saying that, vitamin deficiencies is common, particularly Vit B12 which in the long-term can cause irreversible nerve damage. Variety is certainly the key to a healthy life and I believe everything in moderation. It’s going to be hard to eat veggies, fruit, egg, dairy, grains, seeds, legumes, oily fish etc on a daily basis so perhaps it’s more practical to think about your eating habits over a whole week? That way you can go crazy and feast on a Saturday night out and compensate by eating different foods on other days. If you can keep relatively active too that will mean you can splurge out a bit more as you’re burning it off 🙂
Thanks for your comment,