In part one of his health related blog, HR180’s HR Assistant, Nuhman Sharif, takes a wry look at the most up to date Government guidance on the correct number of portions of fruit and veg we should eat daily.
By Nuhman Sharif
I was rather perplexed to find that I perhaps was not eating enough fruit and vegetables per day.
For years, we have told by the Department of Health that we should all strive to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day and I set this as my personal challenge. To be honest, I found this is a little difficult being somebody who doesn’t naturally reach for an apple when it comes to snacking. On top of that, some days can be incredibly busy and making the time for lunch can sometimes be a struggle.
I was doing really well and to ensure I didn’t get bored, I even varied the fruit and veg I was eating each day. I’m not sure if you know but there are many options that come under the definition of a ‘portion’ such as 14 cherries, 2 figs, a third of an aubergine, 2 slices of mango, 3 heaped tablespoons of kidney beans or 8 florets of broccoli. Canned and frozen fruit and vegetables as well as fruit and vegetable juice also count which, I think, makes 5 portions achievable on a daily basis.
Having achieved this Government gold standard, imagine my horror when I came upon a study conducted by Imperial College London which concluded that eating 10 portions of fruit and vegetables per day would help us avoid developing chronic diseases and prevent an early death!
Overall, the findings were quite surprising with 10 portions being associated with a 13% reduced risk of cancer and a 28% reduced risk reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
These results are all well and good but what would 10 portions look like?
To achieve 10 portions you would need to consume 1 banana, 3 tablespoons of peas, half a grapefruit, 2 kiwi fruit, 2 broccoli spears, 8 cauliflower florets, 1 apple, 1 tomato, 1 glass of orange juice, 1 pear – and a partridge in a pear tree! (Well okay not the last one!)
That’s an incredible amount of fruit of veg for one day and I would say a tad unrealistic for me to achieve. Having said that, in this day and age it’s about personal choice and as adults, making informed decisions about how we live our lives based on the evidence available to us.
What role, if any, should employers play in terms of the health of their employees? That’s for part 2 of my blog…
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