Wednesday, 15 May 2024 13:23

Eat more fruit, stay healthy

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Olympian Dame Lisa Carrington is helping 5+ A Day spread the word about the benefits of eating fresh fruit and vegetables for optimal physical and mental health. Olympian Dame Lisa Carrington is helping 5+ A Day spread the word about the benefits of eating fresh fruit and vegetables for optimal physical and mental health.

Nutritionists are urging Kiwis to kickstart their day with a piece of fresh fruit to help improve their health and wellbeing this autumn.

 The Ministry of Health recommends people eat five or more servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit every day. But 5+ A Day research shows only 23% of New Zealanders eat the recommended daily intake of vegetables and just 71% of us eat enough fruit.

 “Apples, pears, feijoas, mandarins and persimmons are in peak condition in autumn and packed full of vital nutrients,” explains 5+ A Day Trustee and Principal Scientist and Team Leader at Plant and Food Research, Dr Carolyn Lister.

 “RubyRed kiwifruit and limes are also in season right now, and their vibrant colours are nature’s hint that they’re packed full of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, such as antioxidants, that are the key to maintaining good health.”

 Lister says having fresh fruit at breakfast is an easy way to boost your daily intake. “You then only need one other piece as a snack and you’ve met your daily fruit goal.”

 Buying fruit that’s in season is the most economic way to shop as prices are at their lowest point. “It’s certainly better value to eat with the seasons and we want to see all New Zealanders getting the ideal nutritional intake every day.”

 Legendary Olympian Dame Lisa Carrington is helping 5+ A Day spread the word about the benefits of eating fresh fruit and vegetables for optimal physical and mental health.

 “Filling your fruit bowl high with colourful fruit, or arranging a beautiful platter of sliced produce, is an easy way to encourage everyone to graze,” Lisa says. “I also like to throw fruit into smoothies before training.”

 Pears and persimmons can be eaten fresh or cooked and are a delicious addition to your favourite breakfast cereal. Enjoy them with a dollop of yoghurt, a sprinkle of cinnamon or ground LSA (linseeds, sunflower seeds and raw almonds).

 Lister says pears are a good source of dietary fibre while persimmons are known for their sweet honey-like flavour and contain plant compounds like tannins and flavonoids which have been shown to benefit heart health and lower inflammation and blood pressure.

 Feijoas, mandarins and kiwifruit also pack a powerful nutritional punch at this time of year. Their high concentrations of vitamin C will help support your immune system to help ward off impending winter ills.

 Apples, meanwhile, are renowned for their wide-ranging health benefits. Their nutrients and phytochemicals support healthy digestion and can reduce the risk of some chronic diseases.  Apple peel is higher in dietary fibre and important phytochemicals than the flesh – so it’s best to always leave the skin on when eating them.

 “We’re encouraging everyone to look in their fruit bowl each morning and see what new breakfast ideas they can come up with using fresh seasonal produce in order to boost their overall daily fruit intake this autumn. Your body will thank you for it.”

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