How often do you eat fruit and vegetables? On a scale of 1 to 10, rate yourself.
If your score is 10/10, then I wholeheartedly render a very big kudos to you.
If your score is between 5 to 9, then you have done so well.
If you score beneath 5, then you definitely need to wake up from your slumber right away.
Yes, this serves as a clarion call to us all!!!
It is still not late for you to start acknowledging the fact that fruit and vegetables are your best friends! Yes, you heard me right!
There are countless types of fruit and vegetables all over the world. In fact, we are so blessed with these nature's gifts that none of us will deny not having access to any of them. Permit me to quickly highlight that the essential nutrients found in fruit and vegetables are so useful for the well-being and healthy maintenance of our bodies.
The benefits of fruit consumption on a daily basis has remained an important topic that continues to be neglected. It is quite disheartening that despite the increasing awareness of this important aspect of life, yet many of us remain nonchalant about it. The truth is that we cannot do away with fruit and vegetables! Yes, fruit and vegetables remain the essential constituents of a healthy diet. In fact, World Health Organisation (2014) reports that an estimate of 6.7 million deaths recorded all over the world in 2010 were as a result of insufficient consumption of fruit and vegetables. The statistical findings of Public Health England in 2014 reveal that majority of the UK population continues to consume less fruit and vegetables unlike sugar and saturated fat. The survey showed that only 35% of older adults, 27% of adults, and 8% of 11 to 18 year-olds consume the highly recommended ‘5 A Day’ fruit and vegetables.
5-A-Day connotes a series of programs introduced in countries like USA & Europe to encourage the daily consumption of at least five portions of fruit & vegetables, following a World Health Organisation recommendation. According to researchers, a diet very rich in fruit and vegetables is highly recommended for every individual as it aids in reducing the risk of various chronic diseases including coronary heart disease, stroke and some kinds of cancer (Farhadi et al., 2014).
Even though it is widely accepted that eating an adequate amount of fruit and vegetables (FVs) greatly lowers the risk of developing diseases, it is presently observed that many adults pay less attention to the health benefits of FVs far below the Department of Health’s recommended five portions a day. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that every adult consumes at least 400 g of Fruits & Veggies a day, however, this excludes potatoes and other starchy tubers (Ungar et al., (2013). 5 A DAY programme aims to facilitate and enlighten people on the importance of daily intake of Fruits & Vegetables, however, very little has been known on how well this strategy has been widely adopted by adults.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that every adult consumes at least 400 g of Fruits & Veggies a day, however, this excludes potatoes and other starchy tubers (Ungar et al., (2013). 5 A DAY programme aims to facilitate and enlighten people on the importance of daily intake of Fruits & Vegetables, however, very little has been known on how well this strategy has been widely adopted by adults. World Health Organisation is promoting the awareness of increased consumption of fruits and vegetables in daily food intake of individuals all over the world. Almost all fruit and vegetables count towards 5 A DAY, making it easier for people to obtain the recommended daily intake. Fruit and vegetables do not necessarily need to be fresh to be regarded as a portion, neither do they have to be consumed alone to account for 5-a-day rather they can still count even if they form part of a meal.
Fruit and vegetables (FVs) consumption is an indispensable route to good health and long life because FVs are excellent sources of minerals, vitamins, dietary fibre and phytochemicals (Kpodo et al., 2015). Increasing the consumption of fruit and vegetables is portrayed as part of a healthy diet that is required for reducing both personal and social health costs. Despite the awareness of the health benefits of fruit and vegetables (FVs) consumption, studies reveal that consumption is low and consumer behaviour plays a pertinent role in this effect (Zitkus and Puskoriute, 2013; Hall et al., 2009). Fruit and vegetables are low in fat and calories, especially when not roasted or fried in oil thus consuming them aids an individual to maintain a healthy weight. Fruit and vegetables are a rich source of minerals, vitamins, potassium, folate and fibre which aids to maintain a healthy gut thereby preventing constipation, bowel cancer and food indigestion.
According to NHS UK, fruit and vegetables form part of a balanced diet which tends to help human beings remain healthy hence highly recommended to get an adequate amount of them. The 5 A DAY message supports the health benefits of obtaining five 80g portions of fruit and vegetables each day which is simply five portions of fruit and vegetables in total and not necessarily five portions of each a day. Interestingly, Wang et al., (2014) examined and quantified the potential dose-response relation between fruit and vegetable consumption as well as the risk of cardiovascular and cancer mortality.
The results associated a higher consumption of fruit and vegetables with a reduced risk of mortality especially cardiovascular mortality. Other remarkable impacts of a diet consisting of a high amount of fruit and vegetables are the prevention of chronic diseases and reduction of weight gain over time. Considering the outstanding benefits of fruit and vegetables intake, Schwingshackl et al., (2015) support any initiative that could increase fruit and vegetables consumption. However, it is noteworthy that encouraging us to increase our fruit and vegetables consumption necessitates a wide scope of studies and pragmatic initiatives.
Thomas et al., (2015) argue that the successful actualization of increased consumption of fruit and vegetables hugely depends on the recognition of consumers' preferences for fruit and vegetables. Furthermore, mapping out strategies that address the beneficial impacts of fruit and vegetables consumption for health improvement is very paramount. According to Hall et al., (2009), fruit and vegetables consumption varies significantly with geographical location, age, sex and income level.
Other researchers such as Akpinar et al., (2009), argue that sociodemographic and sociocultural factors such as product quality, price, place of sale, ambience, and market convenience influence consumers' purchasing behaviours. By taking advantage of this clarion call, all hands can now be on deck to tap into all the amazing benefits that fruit and vegetables can offer. It is noteworthy that fruit & vegetables can be consumed in many ways such as smoothies, juices or in cuisines.
So, Simply Grab & Enjoy Your Own Fruit & Veggies for A Healthier YOU!!!
Akpinar, M. G., Aykin, S. M., Sayin, C., and Ozkan, B. (2009), The role of demographic variables in purchasing decisions on fresh fruit and vegetables, Journal of Food Agriculture & Environment, 7(3–4), pp. 106–110.
Farhadi, A., Seke, M. Y., Pey F. N., Shafiee, S. & Farhadi, S. (2014) Comparison & Evaluation of Amount of Fruits & Vegetables Consumption Among College Students Based on TTM Stages of Change, International Journal of Current Life Sciences, Vol.4, Issue, 4, p. 1494.
Hall J. N., Moore S., Harper S. B. and Lynch, J. W. (2009) Global variability in fruit and vegetable consumption. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Volume 36, Issue 5, pp.402–409.e5
Kpodo, F. M., Mensah, C. and Dzah, C. S. (2015), Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Patterns and Preferences of Students in a Ghanaian Polytechnic, World Journal of Nutrition and Health, Vol. 3, No. 3, 2015, pp 53-59.
Pixabay (2017), Images from Pixabay
Public Health England (2014), Statistical Press Notice: National Diet and Nutrition Survey: results from Years 5 and 6 (combined) of the Rolling Programme (2012/13 – 2013/14), accessed online
Ungar, N., Sieverdinga, M. & Stadnitski, T. (2013) Increasing Fruit & Vegetable Intake; ‘‘Five a day’’ versus ‘‘just one more’’, Research Report, p.200.
Schwingshackl, L., Hoffmann, G., Kalle-Uhlmann, T., Arregui, M., Buijsse, B. and Boeing, H. (2015), Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Changes in Anthropometric Variables in Adult Populations: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies, PLoS ONE 10(10): e0140846. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0140846.
Thomas, T., Gunden, C. and Miran, B. (2015), Understanding Consumers’ Attitudes Toward Fruits and Vegetable Attributes: A Multi-Method Approach, Journal of Nutritional Therapeutics, 4, pp.85-92.
Wang X., Ouyang Y., Liu J., Zhu M., Zhao G., Bao W. and Frank, B. H. (2014), Fruit and vegetable consumption and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies BMJ; 349 :g4490.
World Health Organisation (2014), Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption to reduce the risk of noncommunicable diseases: Biological, behavioural and contextual rationale, accessed online
Zitkus, L. and Puskoriute, N. (2013), Consumer behaviour and its influence on consumer rights violations, European integration studies. No. 7, pp.222-228.