Thursday, 18 June 2015

8 tips to use to include fruits and vegetables in your diet

To enjoy life to the fullest and live it to the longest, it is recommended to include fruits and vegetables in the daily diet of an individual.

This is because fruits and vegetables  are among the few foods that provide the body with  the water-soluble vitamins B, C and Folic acid. These water-soluble vitamins are needed on a daily basis as they easily dissolve in body fluids such as urine and hence "exit" our body systems . This means the body does not store these vitamins, which it needs everyday to prevent diseases, promote and protect our overall health.

Additionally, fruits and vegetables are rich in dietary fibre, which prevents constipation, improve the health of the gut as well as prevent other digestion problems.

It is based on these important reasons that dietitians/nutritionists recommend at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables each day. By portion we mean one medium size of orange, banana or apple. It also includes, one medium tomato, one slice (5 cm) of watermelon or pineapple, 5 cm  piece of cucumber, eight cauliflower floret, 150 ml of  unsweetened fruit juice etc.

To help achieve this recommendation, I share tips that can be used especially, if you are one who does not often include fruits and vegetables in your daily diet.

1.       Place a bowl of fruits on the dining table or a visible area of the house or workplace as this is likely to attract you and the household to easily reach and have some. Gradually, you will notice that your fruits intake has increased.

2.    Make fruits and vegetables as part of your three main meals - breakfast, lunch and supper. For example can add fruits like chopped banana to Hausa “koko” and other types of porridges.

3.      Eat fruits and vegetables for snacks instead of taking foods high in sugar, salt and fat as the former is a healthier option.

4.       Eat the fruits and vegetables you use in garnishing your foods.

5.      Buy fruits and vegetables in season, at the local/farmer's market and also go for local ones as they are cheaper.

6.       Reward your children with fruit and vegetable salads and not sweets.

7.       Get all your vitamins in the fruit and vegetable by not boiling vegetables but rather steaming or grilling them if you want them cooked. Alternatively, you can use the cooking water for stews and soups instead of pouring away. This is important because these water-soluble vitamins can easily be lost by not using the proper cooking methods.

8.     Properly wash all fruits and vegetables if they are going to be eaten raw to avoid food contamination.

Photo (above) credit:

Get more tips from the book, Become A Healthier You.

About contributor
Irene Danquah, ANutr holds a BSc Biochemistry from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana and an MSc Public Health Nutrition from the University of Southampton, UK. Irene is member of the UK Association for Nutrition (AfN) and the Ghana Nutrition Association. She is on the UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionists (UKVRN) as an Associate Nutritionist. Irene is the author of the book, Become A Healthier You. Like the World Bank, Irene also believes "Nutrition is an investment issue and improved nutrition is one of the major drivers of economic growth - World Bank, 2006". 


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