Seven-A-Day To A Healthy Life!

Apr 6, 2014 By Anita R
Anita R's picture

It is said that 'An apple a day keeps the doctor away'. Well, it may take more than that to keep us disease free...

It has been known for a while that fruits and vegetables play an important role in reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke. Health experts have suggested that the ideal portion of fruits and vegetables to eat each day, is 5 servings.

But even that may no longer be enough according to the University College of London. Based on their study spanning 13 years and over 65,000 people, the UCL recommends that every person should strive to eat at least 7 portions of fruits and vegetables each day to stay healthy and live longer. 

Do Fruits And Veggies Really Matter?

Turns out they matter a LOT!  Fruits and vegetables have a protective effect against disease as they contain antioxidants which repair damage to cells. They also contain micronutrients and fiber, both of which are good for health. 

According to the study, the benefit from adding fruits and vegetables to our diet regularly and in large quantities has a staggering effect on our health. Those who eat seven or more servings of fruit and veggies daily, can cut the risk of death due to stroke, heart disease or cancer by as much as 42%! 

However, there are many who believe that getting even two or three servings of fresh produce into a day's diet is difficult. Certainly seven servings appears daunting. But realistically, getting a proper fill of fruits and vegetables might not be as difficult as we think. 

Packing A Punch

The trick is to understand serving sizes!

Did you know that a medium-sized fruit - about the size of a baseball is one serving of fruit? A large orange or a banana could really be two servings right there. Half a cup of blueberries or grapes gets you your quota of a serving of fruit., and just in case you don't like to chomp through your fruits, blend them into a smoothie with your favorite juice or icecream for a refreshing nutrition packed meal of multiple fruit portions.

But wait a minute, that does not mean we make a meal of fruits alone. The study finds that vegetables are better for our bodies than fruits. Veggies are supercharged and carry higher health benefits than fruits. 

So here is a quick check list of what counts and what doesn't.

  • Fruit juices are not really a significant health benefit
  • Canned and frozen fruit may even increase risk of death by 17 percent per portion because of added sugars
  • A portion is about 3 oz or 80g worth of produce
  • Trick is to have 7 'different' varieties of vegetables and fruits - not seven portions of the same produce!

So the next time your parents tell you to "eat your veggies", remember it is for your own good!

Critical Thinking: How many servings of fruits and veggies do you eat everyday? What could be some creative ways to add fruits and veggies to your meal? 

Courtesy: WHO, BBC