08:34 Wednesday 15 May 2013

Fruity Friday

Written byHeart Research UK

This year’s Fruity Friday is on 17 May, and a timely reminder of all the reasons why eating a plant based diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, whole-grains and pulses can protect against heart disease, type-2 diabetes and a number of cancers in later life.

Fruit and vegetables, are a great source of many different vitamins and minerals, which help to keep the body healthy and strengthen our immune system, but are also rich in phytochemicals, biologically active compounds that help protect cells in the body from damage and potential disease.

Eating a balanced diet is also a great way of maintaining a healthy weight which, alongside not smoking and exercise, is one of the most important things you can do for a healthier, happier, longer life.

So use your blue sky imagination, think outside the box, and create new ways to increase your fruit and vegetable intake – here are some useful ideas to start:

  • Start the day with a pure fruit juice either freshly squeezed or ready prepared and add chopped up banana, pear or kiwi fruit to your breakfast cereal.

  • Swap snacks of biscuits or crisps for dried apricots, dates, figs or raisins.

  • Having a barbecue? Prepare kebabs loaded with apple or pineapple or wrap bananas in foil and cook for a healthy alternative dessert.

  • Make your own smoothie or milkshake and experiment with different fruit combinations to boost your fruit intake.

  • Try an unusual or exotic fruit each week such as dragon fruit or lychees and try different ways to cook or serve it, for a family taster session.

  • Remember, tinned, fresh or frozen fruit all count towards your five-a-day.

  • Raw fruit such as apple, orange, mango or grapes add a great twist to a savoury salad.

  • Add cranberries, sultanas or diced apricots to couscous.

  • Make fruit skewers for dessert using kiwi fruit, melons and strawberries and drizzle with mango pulp or raspberry coulis, perfect for a refreshing dessert.

 

Health experts recommend that we eat at least five portions from a wide variety of fruit and vegetables every day. So, with such a wonderful array of colours, tastes and textures, be adventurous, get fruity and give your heart a colourful boost of essential nutrients.

For more information and advice about healthy living, contact Heart Research UK via email lifestyle@heartresearch.org.uk.

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