“5 a day – why fruits and vegetables are so valuable for us”
Last week we started with our campaign “Roche Gardening”. Throughout the summer months, there will be raised beds at our site in Mannheim, where we will plant fruits and vegetables for eventually harvesting fresh lettuce, crunchy radishes and sun-ripened strawberries. Besides the possibility of getting in touch with colleagues and having a nice chat, our gardeners are doing something for their health. That’s because fruits, as well as vegetables, are core elements of healthy and conscious nutrition. But, what makes fruits and vegetables so valuable for us?
We talked to the dietician (M.Sc.) Verena Räsener about this topic in an interview. She informed us about the initiative “5 a day” and gave us some helpful hints and interesting thoughts about how someone can integrate fruits and vegetables in their daily life. See for yourself!
What does “5 a day” mean? And how many fruits and vegetables should we eat each day?
“5 a day” is a campaign which encourages everyone to eat more fruits and vegetables. The aim of the “5 a day” campaign is raise the consumption of fruits and vegetables to a minimum of 650g per day. For adults as well as children, this means 5 portions a day or, in other words, 5 times a handful. Therefore, the hands are the automatic measure of a person’s needs: big hands – big portions, small hands – small portions. Thereof, three portions should be vegetables and the other two fruits.
In order to get an idea of the different sizes of “a portion”, visit:
What makes fruits and vegetables so healthy and how do they affect us?
Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals and especially in secondary plant products. Besides this, they are low in calories, being highly concentrated with nutrients. In fact, there have been a lot of scientific studies which prove that people who eat a lot of vegetables and fruits are less likely to suffer from cardio-vascular diseases, strokes, high blood pressure, different kinds of cancer or diabetes mellitus type 2. Additionally, fruits and vegetables contribute substantially if you want to watch your weight. Overweight and obesity are widespread issues in our society and can lead to chronic diseases.
Are there any kinds of fruits or vegetables, which are healthier and more valuable for us than others?
All kinds of fruits and vegetables offer a varying number of valuable substances. Those of you, who want to do something very special for yourselves, should look for seasonal and regional products. These are well ripened, full of flavor, and especially, harvested while rich in valuable substances which fulfil the needs of the human body. Additionally, you can buy them cheaper during the season than during the off-season. This might be an extreme example: exported strawberries during the winter are quite pricy, have almost no taste and on top contain only few valuable substances.
What kinds of fruits and vegetables are especially valuable?
Inform yourself at:
How can I find time for my “5 a day” during my daily business? What could be delicious and suitable snacks?
During the day, most of us eat too few fruits and vegetables; hence we can’t catch up at dinner time. Thus, we should start at breakfast – no matter whether you have it at home or at work. Complement it with a snack of fresh fruit and a vegetable side dish at lunch and you already managed to eat three to four portions. In order to round off the day, eat a vegetable soup or a small carrot salad for dinner. By the way, it is the average of the week that counts – perfection is not required, rather enjoyment and experiencing something new!
As a delicious and nutritious snack, nuts or dry fruits are suitable, e.g. trail mix, or - depending on the season - fresh fruits like strawberries or raspberries. A jar of applesauce or even pickles are appropriate, too. Most important is to figure out what’s best for you and what you prefer.
In conclusion, here is an example for planning fruits and vegetables in your “5 a day”:
Breakfast: uncooked vegetarian food as a side dish for your sandwich, one glass of juice
Lunch, e.g. in the canteen: one portion of cooked vegetables as a side dish
Snack: one piece of a fruit or a small handful of nuts
Dinner: one portion of mixed salad or a vegetable soup