Eat it: Get your ten a day!
“You should eat ten pieces of fruit and veg a day!”, or at least this is what a large advertising campaign was saying in 2000. Launched by fruit and vegetable producers, is the message of this campaign actually attainable? And how do you manage to get to this figure?
The “ten a day” campaign for the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables was launched at the beginning of 2000 by INTERFEL in France (the Interprofessional Association for Fresh Fruit and Vegetables), in order to promote the consumption of its fresh produce. The key idea was to eat ten different types of fruit and or vegetables every day.
The campaign for ten a day was supported by explanatory leaflets entitled “Why eat ten portions of fruit and vegetables a day?”, “Ten golden rules for getting a balanced diet”, “How to get children to eat fruit and vegetables”, “Eating seasonal produce” and “The secrets to fast and easy meals”. Pure myth or realistic aim, here is an overview of why you should be getting your ten a day, and how to go about it.
Every vegetable you eat counts
Whether it is basil leaves on your tomato and mozzarella salad, or lemon juice on your fish... Everything you eat counts towards your ten a day. For salads, each different raw vegetable counts as one portion, and each ingredient in vegetable soup too. Now it’s much easier to get to ten!
Protecting your body’s health
But why eat ten pieces of fruit and vegetables a day? We all know the importance of eating a healthy, balanced diet, and this is so the body gets enough of the nutrients which influence cellular function, especially substances called “anti-oxidants” which play a major part in the prevention of heart disease and cancer. The protective effect of fruit and vegetables on the body’s health could be connected to the antioxidants they contain, like vitamin C or carotene, as well as the presence of other vitamins and oligo-elements, and their rich fibre content.
We are not getting enough fruit and veg!
According to most international experts, a “healthy” diet, should include at least 2 to 4 portions of fruit and 3 to 5 portions of vegetables a day, which amounts to at least 500g. However, in France, the study SU.VI.MAX has shown statistics which indicate that the nation is made up of “fruit and vegetable haters”; 64% of men and 55% of women aged 45 to 60 do not eat enough fruit, and these percentages increase to 72% and 64% respectively for vegetables.
Is ten a day a realistic aim?
The promotion of the consumption of fruit and vegetables is therefore completely justified, and is explicitly mentioned in nutritional advice give by the national health service in France. However, you could be wondering how producers have come up with ten a day when quantity is not something that has been specified by experts. Why ten rather than eight, or six even?
In the United States, the famous “Five a day” campaign recommended eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, based on: a fruit juice in the morning, a portion of vegetables and a piece of fruit at midday, and soup and green salad for dinner. Advising ten pieces of fruit and vegetables a day seems unrealistic in comparison, and could even discourage certain people if they are only managing to eat four or five pieces. On the other hand, counting chives in vinaigrette or parsley on potatoes can mean you underestimate your intake.
Ultimately, just remember to eat fruit and vegetables every day, in as many different varieties as possible and in different forms (raw, cooked, juices, soups), and learn to become a fruit and vegetable lover!
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