Cara Cunningham from the Community Nutrition and Dietetic Service writes about fruit and vegetables, and how they can boost your mood.
The Leaving Cert results are due next week and they are enough to unsettle even the calmest of people, so it is interesting to hear that research done in the UK showed that having your recommended 5-7+ portions of fruit and vegetable per day can not only be good for your physical health, but also improve your mental health.
Less than 1 in 10 Irish adults take at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day; although this number seems to be improving slightly, we still need to work on it. Supermarkets at the minute in Ireland seem to be having a price war when it comes to fruit and vegetables; so by shopping around you can get great bargains in a wide range of products. Also don’t forget your local fruit and vegetable shops that can contain a wider range and are great for giving hints and tip on recipes to try.
Having regular family meals round a table has been shown to boost kid’s fruit and vegetable intake. This is probably due to the fact that a meal at a table is usually the more traditional type; also the table allows you to serve a salad and the family can
take what they want. Parents should also remember that they are great role models so if children see adult eating them they are probably more ready to try new things.
Having fruit and vegetables chopped into bite-sized pieces and available ready to eat will encourage people to use them as healthy snacks. There seems to be an explosion of chopped salads and fruit cocktails; it is always cheaper to DIY it so make up a big fruit salad (put some fruit juice on it to prevent discolouration) and have it available to the whole family to snack on.
The biggest argument among the boffins these days is not if fruit and vegetables are good for your overall health rather how much we need to be taking. The new food pyramid recommends 5-7 portions or more. So make sure you are the one in ten and get the fruit and vegetable habit – it will do your heart, body and mind good!
For more information on any of the issues discussed above or for more information on diet and nutrition, contact Maria at: The Community Nutrition and Dietetic Service, HSE Midlands/Louth/Meath by telephone on (044) 93 95518 or email email@example.com.
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