Fruit and vegetables are an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet, and they can help us to stay healthy. Research shows that eating 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day can help to reduce the risk of serious illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
- 1 Why eat 5 a day?
- 1.1 What counts towards your 5 a day?
- 1.2 Getting your 5 a day is easier than you think
- 1.3 Breakfast
- 1.4 Lunch
- 1.5 Dinner
- 1.6 The benefits of drinking juices
- 1.7 Apple
- 1.8 Grapefruit
- 1.9 Orange
- 1.10 Cantaloupe melon
- 1.11 Honeydew Melon
- 1.12 Grape
- 1.13 Pineapple
- 1.14 Watermelon
- 1.15 An apple a day…
- 1.16 Apple juice
- 1.17 Apple juice and health
- 1.18 Apple cider
- 1.19 The Health Benefits of Apple Juice
- 1.20 It’s nutrient rich
- 1.21 It’s high in antioxidants
- 1.22 It can prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
- 1.23 Other notable benefits
- 1.24 Which is the healthiest kind of apple juice?
- 1.25 Final thoughts
Why eat 5 a day?
Fruit and vegetables are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that your body needs to function at its best.
They provide your body with fibre, which can help to promote healthy digestion and reduce the risk of bowel cancer.
They can help to reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
They provide you with a lot of nutrients for relatively few calories, so they’re a great weight loss tool.
What counts towards your 5 a day?
Fruit and vegetables that you add to soups and pasta sauces
Beans and pulses
Frozen and canned fruit and vegetables
Tinned or canned fruit and vegetables. Try to buy them canned in natural juice or water, with no added sugar or salt.
Dried fruit, such as currants, dates, sultanas, and figs, count as one of your 5 a day. Try to eat them at mealtimes though as they are high in natural sugars which can cause tooth decay.
Fruit juices, vegetable juices, and smoothies count, though limit servings to 150 ml per day as they contain a lot of natural sugar. If you dilute the juice with water it can make it go further.
Getting your 5 a day is easier than you think
You can easily squeeze 5 a day into your daily diet. Here are some ideas to help you get your quota:
Add fruit to cereal, porridge, or low fat natural yoghurt. A handful of berries or a chopped banana tastes delicious.
Add grilled mushrooms or tomatoes to scrambled eggs.
Have a 150ml glass of fruit or vegetable juice with your breakfast.
Add salad items such as lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber or carrot to sandwiches to boost their nutrient content.
Have cucumber, pepper and carrot sticks with salsa dips or houmous.
Boost the fruit and vegetable content of your meals by adding chopped carrots to a Bolognese sauce, add chopped peppers to pasta, and mix vegetables such as turnip or swede into mashed potato. Add tomatoes and mushrooms to omelettes and stir fries. Try bulking out soups, stews, and salads with beans and lentils.
Add a salad or vegetable side to your evening meal. You can use frozen or canned vegetables too. Try adding sweetcorn or pineapple chunks to a homemade pizza, and add peas or sweetcorn to soups and sauces.
The benefits of drinking juices
Fruit juices can help your body to flush out toxins, and their natural sugars can provide an energy boost. They are a concentrated hit of the nutrients that your body needs to function optimally. Because fruit juice is already liquid, the body’s digestive process doesn’t have to work to extract the nutrients, so they are more readily available to the body. The sugar in fruit is fructose, and the body requires glucose for energy. The conversion of sugar from fructose to glucose is easy for the body, and that is how juices are able to provide us with almost instant energy. There are many bottled varieties of fruit juice, but nothing beats freshly squeezed juice. The longer it is left to stand on a supermarket shelf, the more the amount of valuable nutrients is depleted. Fresh juice can be consumed immediately (which is best), or stored in an airtight container for 24 hours then consumed the next day. Take care to not leave it any longer than that though, as fresh juice is not pasteurised, so bacteria can easily form, causing illness. Here are a few of the most nourishing and cleansing juices to consume:
You don’t need to peel the apples, but always remove the core.
Peel the grapefruits which gives you a thicker juice, or cut them in half and squeeze them on a citrus juicer.
Cut them in half and squeeze them on a citrus juicer.
Remove the melon rind and the seeds, cut it into chunks and put through a juicer;
Prepare this the same way as you would the cantaloupe melon.
Put any type of grape through the juicer. The seeds will be collected with the pulp. Grape juice is usually quite concentrated, so you may want to use half grape and half apple or similar.
Remove the skin from the pineapple, and cut it into chunks. There is no need to remove the core.
Remove the rind and put chunks of watermelon through your juicer. This is a lovely cleansing and refreshing juice.
An apple a day…
Apples are a lunchbox staple and one of the most popular fruits to eat. They are also one of the most versatile and healthy fruits to eat. Apples have a crisp texture, and can have either a red, green or yellowish skin. The apple is a member of the rose family. There are many varieties of apple, and their flavour can vary from sweet to tart, depending on the variety. Golden and red delicious apples are the sweetest, while Granny Smith apples are known for their bitterness. Cooking apples are tart, and are used in apple pies, while the sweeter varieties like Braeburn and Fuji apples are eaten raw.
The apple tree originated in Eastern Europe and South Western Asia, but apple trees can grow in any temperate climates, and there are over 7,000 varieties grown all over the world. They are famous for being included in the bible, in the story of Adam and Eve, while in Norse mythology, a magic apple was said to give people eternal youth. In the 1800’s a man named John Chapman made history in the US by walking over 100,000 square miles barefoot, planting apple trees to provide food and a living for settlers.
Apple juice is made from pressing apples. The juice is then treated with enzymes to remove the starch, and the fibre, pectin, and is then pasteurised to be packaged, or dehydrated if it is going to be juice made from concentrate.
Making apple juice is quite expensive, as there is a lot of equipment required to extract and treat it, so it’s usually made commercially on a large scale. Where juice is made by smaller firms, it is usually used to make cider, as is popular in the US. Apple juice is one of the most commercially popular juices, and China, Poland, the US and Germany are the world’s biggest producers.
Apples used to make the juice are harvested from September until the middle of November in the Northern Hemisphere, and in the Southern Hemisphere between February and the middle of April. One of the most popular types of Apple used in juices is the McIntosh apple. 2 average sized apples produce about 200ml of juice. When the apples are picked, they are washed and taken to a processing facility. They are pressed and juiced as soon as possible so that minimal spoiling occurs. The apple juice is then filtered, and processed in different ways depending on whether it is going to be pure apple juice or whether it is going to be made into cider.
Apple juice and health
Sometimes vitamin C is added to apple juice, because some is lost during production. It is a good source of the mineral boron, which is known to promote strong and healthy bones. Apple juice contains a lot of phenols, which acts as antioxidants. Studies have shown that apple juice reduced oxidative stress on the brains of mice, probably due to the antioxidant content, and there is promising research into whether apple juice can improve memory by increasing a chemical called acetylcholine in the brain.
It has plenty of health benefits, but remember that it is quite high in natural sugar, and therefore it is fairly calorific. A standard serving of apple juice contains around 130 calories, and the juice does not have the same amount of fibre as an apple.
Apple juice is juice that has come from pressed apples, and it is filtered during processing. Apple cider is usually not filtered or pasteurised. In New Zealand, Australia and the UK, cider is fermented fruit juice and it can also be made from pears, as you will notice if you look at the burgeoning fruit cider market. Apple cider is popular in winter as it can be heated up and drank like you would drink hot chocolate or coffee.
The Health Benefits of Apple Juice
An apple a day keeps the doctor away is a popular saying, and may be there’s a bit of truth in it. The fruit is versatile, cheap, and offers many health benefits. Here are the main benefits of drinking the juice of the naturally sweet wonder food.
It’s nutrient rich
Apple juice contains a lot of nutrients that can keep the body functioning as it should. The main nutrient in apples is vitamin C, which is needed for healthy skin, eyesight, and a healthy immune system. Even though deficiency is rare, it is still a good idea to ensure that you get your quota, and there is limited researched to back up the fact that high doses of vitamin C can help to prevent and fight colds.
It’s high in antioxidants
Apple juice is rich in antioxidants which help to prevent disease and to protect against free radical damage, resulting from toxins and environmental pollution. Apple juice has been shown to help the body to recover from intense exercise. Intense exercise produces free radicals which float around in the blood stream causing damage to tissues and disease. Antioxidants can help to prevent some cancers, and to inhibit the disease from spreading.
It can prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
A 2009 study showed that drinking apple juice as you get older can prevent dementia and other age-related cognitive decline, such as memory loss. In the study, mice that were fed with apple juice often demonstrated improved brain function. The study showed that the apple juice effectively slowed down the aging of the brain, and it is able to function optimally for longer than expected.
Other notable benefits
Apples are high in fibre which can promote healthy digestion and reduce the incidence of constipation, IBS and other bowel complaints.
Apple juice is also rich in iron which helps the body to produce healthy red blood cells. A deficiency of iron can lead to anaemia, which occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough red blood cells. Symptoms of anaemia can include shortness of breath, fatigue, and dizziness. Women of childbearing age are particularly at risk.
Apple juice contains antioxidant compounds which can actually help to clear the lungs, so it can be beneficial for anyone with asthma or other breathing problems.
Research is limited, but apple juice shows promise for being effective for stomach disorders, rheumatic disorders, diabetes, obesity, liver and kidney disease, sore throats, and strengthening bones.
Which is the healthiest kind of apple juice?
Cloudy Apple Juice is the healthiest kind of apple juice. Shop bought apple juice looks quite clear as it has been subjected to a lot of processing and filtration during the production process. Filtering the juice removes the fibre pectin, and the starch. Pectin is a very useful type of fibre for the body which promotes a healthy gut. A lot of the vitamin C content is lost during production so you will often see that shop bought juice is fortified with it. In the US, unfiltered apple juice is called cider and it can be bought from stores, however, in the UK, cider is an alcoholic drink.
Research has shown that eating at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day reduces the risk of getting serious illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. It also helps your body to function at its best and makes it easier for you to maintain a healthy body weight.
Fresh, frozen and canned fruit and vegetables all count towards your 5 a day, as long as you watch out for added sugar and salt in canned varieties. Beans, lentils and pulses counts, as do fruit juices, smoothies, and vegetable juices. Be careful with fruit juices and smoothies however, as they are high in natural sugars which can damage teeth and lead to weight gain if consumed in excess. Stick to 150 ml per day and you can’t go wrong.
Fruit juice provides you with a convenient way to get a concentrated hit of all the nutrients that your body needs. You might be losing out on fibre when you drink the juice instead of eating the fruit, but when you drink the juice, it is already broken down so the digestive system doesn’t have to work as hard to get the nutrients from it. This is good news for anyone with digestive problems or absorption issues.
Apples are a convenient and healthy snack, and it’s definitely true that an apple a day can keep the doctor away. Apples are rich in vitamin C and in a fibre called pectin which is good for gut health. There are many different varieties of apple and they can grow in any temperate climate. The varieties range from sweet to slightly bitter, and they are one of the most popular fruits both to be eaten raw and to be included in desserts.
Apple juice is made from pressed apples. Most apple juice is commercially produced, as the equipment needed to press the apples and filter the juice to the required standard is quite expensive. 2 average sized apple only yields around 200ml of juice so the amount of produce needed to make a substantial amount of juice is considerable.
The juice is filtered to remove the pectin and the starch, and a considerable amount of the vitamin C is lost during processing. In many shop bought juices, you will notice that it might be fortified with vitamin C.
The health benefits of apple juice are considerable. Apple juice is high in vitamin C, which is important for healthy skin, eyes, and a healthy immune system. A strong immune system means that we are more able to fight off infections, so this is why vitamin C is strongly associated with preventing and treating colds and viruses, even though these is a lack of conclusive scientific evidence.
The juice is also high in phenols, which are antioxidants. Antioxidants work wonders for the body. They fight free radicals caused by pollution and other toxins. Free radicals circulate in the body, causing damage and disease. The damage they cause at a cellular level in our bodies can cause diseases like cancer, and can lead to changes in the brain which cause it to degenerate. Imagine a world where the humble apple can be used to get rid of problems like this.