Don't forget your fruit this winter
It’s cold and dark and the temptation to snuggle at home over some hot comfort food is greater than ever. But don’t think that fruit is just for the summer season. We need to be eating fresh fruit all year round, and in these dark days of winter we need to be make a special effort to make sure that we are keeping up with our 5 a day. Fruit plays an essential role in keeping our bodies healthy and strong. They are great sources of fibre, potassium, vitamin C and folate and so much more. As such they can lower our risk of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure. Indeed, so important are the they that The World Health organisation has estimated that over 2.7 million lives could be saved each year by eating more fruit and veg!
Even if you are trying to lose weight, don’t skip on the fruit. Of course if all you did was eat more fruit and veg and you didn’t change any other aspect of your diet, you aren’t going to automatically lose weight. They aren’t magic! But it’s important that you don’t cut back on your 5 a day when dieting. Yes, you need to stick to your calorie quota but you should be planning for a large part of that quote to be made up of fruit and vegetables.
Fruit and vegetables can even help you if you are trying to lose weight. Fruit tends to be low in calories and fat, whilst also being high in fibre. Which means that snacking on fruit will help to keep you fuller for longer than if you ate a snack like a cake or biscuit with the same amount of calories. Most fruit and vegetable have a low calorie density, which means they have a low number of calories for their volume. That means we can eat a greater volume of them than we can calorie dense foods like biscuits and cakes. So you should be using fruit to help substitute for more calorie dense and high fat foods. Also your body needs the nutrients from your 5 a day to burn fat and to build muscle, which is important when trying to lose weight.
Aim for five servings of fresh fruit and vegetables daily and choose a mixture of colours to ensure a good mix of nutrients. All fruit and vegetables, including fresh, frozen, canned, dried and pure juices, count towards the five daily servings.
Over the next few weeks we shall be focusing on a different fruit each week and looking at all the great things it can do for us. Next week come back to my blog as we take a look at blueberries.