Fruit and vegetables are an important part of the human diet. In fact, we’re advised to eat at least five portions of fruit and veg every day because fruits and vegetables contain ‘nutrients’ that help to keep our bodies healthy and working properly.
You might remember from my blogpost about why you shouldn’t only eat bread that it’s important to eat a balanced diet. So let’s find out more about fruit and vegetables and why we should include them in the meals we prepare.
Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to work properly and keep us healthy. Here are some examples:
Vitamin C is found in oranges, peppers, strawberries, blackcurrants, broccoli, brussels sprouts and potatoes. It is important for keeping your skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage healthy. If you don’t have enough vitamin C in your diet, you could develop an illness called ‘scurvy‘ which can make you very tired and cause your gums to bleed.
Vitamin K is found in leafy green vegetables like spinach and broccoli. It helps your blood to clot (make a scab) when you cut yourself, and it can help keep your bones healthy.
Leafy green vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and okra also contain calcium, which helps to keep your bones strong, regulates your heart muscle contractions and heartbeat, and helps your blood to clot. If you don’t have enough calcium in your diet, you could develop rickets (soft, weak bones) or develop osteoporosis (weak, fragile bones) when you get older.
The UK’s National Health Service recommends that fruit and veg should make up one third of the foods that we eat each day. That’s because scientists have found out that eating five portions of fruit and vegetables every day can reduce the risk of developing certain types of illness.
So, why not count up how many portions of fruit and veg you eat in a day and maybe think of some new fruits and vegetables that you could try? And if you’re not sure what a portion means, the NHS has made a handy guide to help you work it out.