How often do you have your 5 a day?

Is mental wellbeing linked to the consumption of fruit & vegetables?


Given the many health advantages of eating more fruit and vegetables, there is no reason why we shouldn’t all be attempting to meet the governments ‘five-a-day’ target. Economists and public health researchers from the University of Warwick studied the eating habits of 80,000 people in Britain. They found mental wellbeing appeared to rise with the number of daily portions of fruit and vegetables people consumed. Wellbeing peaked at seven portions a day. Yet as a nation, on average, we are still eating less than 3 portions of these foods per day, with just 15% of adults gathering the recommended target.

So why aren’t we eating enough? 

Perhaps individuals are still unsure of what number of portions they require a day, what considers a portion, or even what can be considered a fruit or vegetable?

What to include?

Fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit and vegetables, 100% fruit or vegetable juice, pure fruit jiuce smoothies and pulses.

What amounts to one portion?

On average, one portion of fruit or vegetables is the equivalent to 80g. see the list below for examples of what constitutes to an 80g portion:

  • 1 apple, banana, pear, orange or other similar sized fruit
  • 2 plums, satsumas, kiwi fruit or other similar sized fruit
  • 1⁄2 a grapefruit or avocado
  • 1 large slice of melon or fresh pineapple
  • 3 heaped tablespoons of vegetables, beans or pulses
  • 3 heaped tablespoons of fruit salad or stewed fruit
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of raisins or sultanas
  • 1 cupful of grapes, cherries or berries
  • 1 dessert bowl of salad
  • 1 glass (150ml) of pure fruit juice

Sample day:

Breakfast – A bowl of wholegrain breakfast cereal maybe with a sliced banana and a 150ml glass of pure fruit juice.

Mid-morning snack – Raw vegetables, cherry tomatoes, button mushrooms, carrots or celery sticks, or a piece of fruit, i.e. an apple, pear or orange

Lunch – Add a dessert bowl sized side salad, to your lunchtime sandwich.

Mid-afternoon snack – A cupful of grapes or berries, or a heaped tablespoon of dried fruit, such as raisins or sultanas

Dinner – A nutritious casserole or stew packed full of seasonal vegetables.

 

References:

Is Psychological Well-being Linked to the Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables?by David G. Blanchflower, Andrew J. Oswald, and Sarah Stewart-Brown


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