"People everywhere who eat the most fruits and vegetables, compared with those who eat the least, slash their expectations
of cancer by about 50 %. That includes cancers of the lung, colon, breast, cervix,
oesophagus, oral cavity, stomach, bladder and ovary."
(Dr Gladys Block, PhD)
The old adage of "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" is so true, except that we need to
eat more than one apple. The World Health Organisation research has shown that
all adults should be eating 1 pound of fruits and vegetables, which is 5 portions, a day.
Yet 80% of the population do not reach this intake. A leading cardiac
charity says that if we ate the 5 pieces of fruits and vegetables per person per day as recommended by the World Health Organisation
this would save 30,000 lives each year.
One portion of fruit-vegetables is:
1 Apple or orange or
1 large slice melon/pineapple
2 tablespoons of vegetables
1 cup of grapes or
2 tablespoons of fruit
1 tablespoon of dried
2 plums or apricots
1 desert bowl of salad
Only 10% of the UK population are eating the recommended 5 portions of fruits and vegetables
a day. In fact on average most of us only eat three portions a day. Our fruit and vegetable consumption in the UK is amongst the lowest in Europe. The Greeks eat more than twice the fruit and vegetables we do, and in a nation of smokers, deaths from
heart disease are half those in Britain.
Health Benefits of Fruit and Vegetables
Research has indicated that consuming a diet rich in plant foods containing phytochemicals
and non-nutritive plant substances will have protective benefits to our health.
Fruits and vegetables are rich in fibre, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants
and phytochemicals, that all increase our resistance to a wide range of health problems.
For example they contain Salacylic acid, which is an aspirin-like compound that stops the blood clotting excessively.
Numerous studies have shown that switching away from a high animal, meat, saturated fat, high cholesterol diet and
consuming more fruits and vegetables helps to reduce our risk of developing the main diseases that cause premature death and
disability in the western world such as:
High Blood Pressure
· Breast cancer
Research by the National Heart Forum has suggested that if we ate the recommended five portions
of fruit and vegetables a day, it would save more than 30,000 lives a year. International
research shows that increasing our intake from the current average 2½ portions to the recommended 5 portions a day would cut
annual heart disease deaths from 150,000 to 120,000 a year.
The cancer research campaign and other researchers like Professor Richard Doll who found the
link between smoking and cancer say that about a third of nearly 300,000 yearly incidents of cancer in the UK are diet related
and potentially preventable.
When a person is under stress the body uses up more vitamins and minerals. In a study in the USA it was shown that prisoners in jail used up double the amount of vitamin C when under
stress. This is exacerbated by a low fruit and vegetable diet which is low in
Anti-oxidants are nutrients like vitamins A, C, and E, which help to neutralise a bi-product
of metabolism called free radicals. Excess free radicals can damage our cells
DNA code and are thought to play a role in the development of a number of health problems.
Free radicals can damage the lining of our arteries and increase our risk of developing heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Fruits and vegetables contain a lot of antioxidant nutrients like
Vitamins A,C and E. These antioxidants help prevent oxidation - the chemical
process which allows cholesterol to form atheroma within coronary arteries. Fruits and vegetables are also rich in potassium, a mineral which
helps control Blood Pressure and they are rich in folic acid which reduces the blood level of a substance called Homocysteine
which itself may be a risk factor for heart disease.
Some Health Problems Linked to Low Fruit/Vegetable Intake
Coronary Heart Disease
Coronary Heart Disease is one of the most common causes of premature death in the West. Research by the World
Health Organisation found that 12 million people die in the West each year due to cardiovascular disease and it is estimated
that 6 million of these deaths are preventable. Researchers at Cambridge University found that if we increase our fruit
intake by one piece a day this lowers the risk of heart disease by 20%. This
is partly because of the increased fibre. Fruit is also a rich source of the mineral potassium which has been shown
to lower blood pressure. Fruits and vegetables also contain an aspirin like compound called Salicylic Acid which helps
to stop blood clotting.
Spina Bifida is
a congenital abnormality where part of the spinal chord grows outside the spinal vertebral column and researchers believe
that a mother's diet that is low in folic acid is a factor. A diet high in vegetables
supplies a high folic acid intake which has been shown to reduce the risk of spina bifida.
Colon cancer is
one of the most common forms of cancer in the UK and western world. Research
in Italy found that a diet high in vegetables helps to reduce the risk of colon cancer.
An increase of only one serving of vegetables a day results in a nearly 15% reduction in risk. Vegetables are a rich source of fibre that helps speed up intestinal transit time and therefore helps prevent
constipation which is known to be a risk factor for colon cancer.
Researchers at Oxford
University have found that a diet high in vegetable and fruits could reduce a persons risk of developing Alzheimers disease.
is important to thoroughly wash and peel all fruits and vegetables in order to remove any excess pesticides from the outside
of the fruit or vegetable.
You can use frozen
or tinned fruits but try to use tinned fruit packed in their own juice not the ones in syrup.
to be taken to Salt