The idea behind this concept, which is used by multiple health and well being organisations around the world like the NHS, is to make sure that we eat five servings of fruit and vegetables every day to stay healthy or to maybe improve our health by making these small changes to our diet. Almost all fruit and vegetables count towards your 5-A-Day, so it may be easier than you think to get your recommended daily amount if you take a closer look at it!
The health benefits
There are many health benefits from eating more vegetables and fruit on a daily basis that can have a very big impact on our lives, especially as we get older or if we do a physically challenging job or sport. As I mentioned in previous posts, the fibre that we partially get form fruits and vegetables is crucial to our health, as well as the antioxidants that they contain.
A diet high in fibre is known to decrease all cause mortality risks with “an 11% reduction in mortality risk for each 10g/d increment of dietary ﬁbre consumed” (1) where as antioxidants are found in colourful foods and limit the free radicals which would otherwise cause oxidative stress to our bodies which can lead to fatigue and even DNA damage.
Studies have shown that individuals consuming a amount of >20 g fiber/day which is equal to around 200g of fruit, had significantly lower risk of premature death by about 40% and also showed to be really beneficial for successful ageing. Furthermore a diet high in fiber has proved to have a good effect on mental well-being, reduces the risk of depression and provides the body with anti-inflammatory markers that help it to recover. (3) This is because of the gut-brain connection, which has a huge influence for example on our mental well-being. The gut microbiome thrives on fibre, the more diverse the better!
Furthermore a diet high in fibre has ben proven to be beneficial for weight loss as fibre satiates us. Studies have shown that by simply changing your diet to a more plant based one, which is naturally higher in fibre, without controlling portion sizes, the individuals lost weight automatically. (1,5)
The lowest target that everyone should try to achieve is 5-a-day which means five hands of vegetables and fruits every day because there are so many benefits of having those, as shown below. But research in the UK has shown that young adults get the fewest portions of fruit and veg and only 21% of 16-24 year olds achieve the 5-a-day target mostly because they don´t know how to incorporate fruits and vegetables into their diet.
If you feel the same, that you would like to have a healthier diet but don´t know how, have a look at some meal inspiration and try to make small steps until eating more healthier options becomes a habit and gets easier. Why nor try to incorporate a fruit or vegetable in every meal… chop an apple into you morning cereal or add some berries, take a extra piece of fruit with you when you go to work or school or generally start to think about what vegetables you have in the house before you start cooking and try to include them and build the meal around it.
- go and check out the recipes on my blog and Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mylifeasanathlete_/?hl=de
- use other sources like the internet page of the NHS https://www.nhs.uk/change4life/recipes
1 Stephen, A. M., Champ, M. M.-J., Cloran, S. J., Fleith, M., van Lieshout, L., Mejborn, H., & Burley, V. J. (2017). Dietary fibre in Europe: current state of knowledge on definitions, sources, recommendations, intakes and relationships to health. Nutrition Research Reviews, 30(02) http://sci-hub.st/10.1017/s095442241700004x