Why should a healthy diet include fresh fruit and vegetables?

We are all advised to eat our 'five-a-day'( fresh fruit and vegetables ) and people who do this tend to be healthier, more energetic and lower in weight than people who don’t. However don’t be confused into believing as long as you eat your five a day you can binge on sugar and fat and still feel good, because you won't. An all round healthy diet is soooo important. This doesn’t mean you have to give up on all your favourite foods: it just means you must find the right balance.

The Benefits

fresh fruit and vegetables It used to be that only people on diets were likely to eat lots of fruit and vegetables, happily that has changed as we all become more aware of how important they are to our diet.

Eating a healthy diet doesn't mean it has to be boring: on the contrary it's anything but - and the health benefits are enormous. It's now known that including lots of fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet can help prevent and fight off life threatening conditions such as cancer and heart disease. They are indeed nature's natural miracle medicines brimming over with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytochemicals.

Enzymes never get acknowledged enough for the job they do. Without enzymes your body would not be able to survive. Enzymes kick start most chemical reactions in the body. They do this in seconds so our bodies can get on with the work that they need to do.

Phytochemicals - there are literally thousands of phytochemicals. Some which you may have heard of are lycopene - in tomatoes - and flavonioids - in fruits.

Many phyochemicals have antioxidant properties which prevent our cells from damage, especially helpful to anyone worried about ageing. Others help balance hormones so can be essential to pre menstrual and menopausal women.

Ways to enjoy the health benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables.

If you like the taste of salt sprinkled on your food but don't like what it does to your body why not try experimenting with herbs as an alternative.

Breakfast - have you tried a smoothie first thing in the morning? It’s a great way to energize your body at the start of day. Or add a chopped banana or a few slices of orange to your cereal bowl, followed by half a grapefruit.

Snack time - why not pack a handful of strawberries / carrots / grapes / dried apricots to keep you going until lunch time.

Lunch time - a piece of toast with a mashed banana can be really nice or pack a sandwich full of lettuce, tomato, onion and pepper slices; it's so much more appealing than a slice of cold ham by itself. There is nothing nicer than a hot plate of vegetable soup on a cold winters day.

Dinner time - Start with bruschettas, followed by cauliflower cheese with a baked potato or asparagus with ham, followed by strawberry cheese cake or a slice of melon.

Freezing

You can get all the health benefits of a healthy diet from frozen fruit and veg and often its more convenient to take them straight from the freezer, so you have no need to feel guilty if they are not fresh fruit and vegetables straight from the farm. Fruit is frozen very soon after picking which makes them even fresher than anything you could buy off the shelf.

Why not grow your own vegetables with the help of www.vegetable-garden-basics.com a guide on planning, design, sowing and planting.

freeze blueberries
freeze peaches
freezing mashed potatoes

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