We all know about the benefits of eating 5 portions of fruit and veg per day, however if we all eat as many as 10 we could live a longer life. In a study carried out by London’s Imperial College, it was revealed that changing to this way of eating could cut the number of premature deaths by 7.8 million cases.
There are also specific vegetables and fruits which have been linked a reduced risk of developing heart disease or cancer, and even consuming small amounts can be beneficial to the health, although eating more is always better. A portion is 3 oz, which equates to a pear, small banana of 3 tablespoons of peas or spinach.
A lower risk of cancer has been linked to eating green vegetables like spinach, yellow vegetables like peppers and cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower. Meanwhile, a reduced chance of a stroke or heart disease was linked to consuming apples, citrus fruits, salads, leafy green veg, cruciferous vegetables and pears.
To include more produce in your diet you can begin the day with a breakfast of a vegetable packed omelette full of tomatoes, avocado and spinach, and then lunch on a salad. Dinner can be a stir fry or stew and you can snack on peppers and hummus or fruit smoothies. Another great way to consume a lot more fruit and veg is to invest in a juicer as you can enjoy delicious fruit and vegetable juices which are nutritious and a convenient way to consume large amounts in one go. Consuming produce of different colors is best.
Compared with people who eat no vegetables or fruit, people who include 200 grams in their diet reduce their chance of getting cardiovascular disease by 13%, cancer by 4% and of dying prematurely by 15%. By upping the amount they consume to 800 grams, they can cut those figures to 28%, 13% and 31% respectively.
Fruit and veg reduces blood pressure and cholesterol while boosting the immune system and the health of the blood vessels thanks to the nutrients they contain. Their many antioxidants reduce damage to DNA to reduce the chance of developing cancer.
Many people, however, find it difficult to even manage 5 portions per day and in the UK only around 1 in every 3 people gets enough. To make it easier, try to have 1 or 2 days without any meat during the week and gradually phase in more vegetables over the rest of the days. Pulses also count, and this makes it even easier to consume enough. By eating a minimum of 5 portions per day you can improve your health considerably, and by eating even more you can make yourself even healthier. It is also important to teach children from an early age about the importance of eating enough fruit and vegetables, and to do this most effectively, you should lead by example.