With the news agenda dominated by volcanic ash and election debates you may have missed the news about the need for five fruit and vegetables a day being a myth.
What? Has the government lied to us? (no sniggering). Are we being force fed incorrect health messages? Well according to an international research team which examined over 500,000 Europeans, only 2.5% of cancers could be averted by increased fruit and vegetable intake.
But as with many stories that crop up in the media, the headline may suggest a great deal but doesn’t really explain the whole situation. In fact the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) has given a more detailed and accurate view. The study that generated so much media interest looked at overall cancer risk, rather than focusing on those cancers which have a good level of evidence for fruit and vegetables. But we should still consider that 2.5% still equates to 7,000 cases in the UK each year – that’s a lot of people.
Dr Rachel Thompson, Science Programme Manager for WCRF says; “If you look at specific types of cancer, including mouth, pharynx, stomach and oesophagus, the evidence shows that eating plenty of fruit and vegetables probably reduces risk.”
The general advice is to eat fruit and vegetables as it is beneficial and you are less likely to become overweight. Keeping them to as a cornerstone of any diet is a view shared by Yakult nutritionist Hannah Baker.
“Fruit and vegetables are packed full of nutrients and vitamins which are beneficial for your overall health and wellbeing, but importantly for digestive health, they contain lots of fibre which can help promote bowel movements.”
“There is very good evidence for increasing your consumption of fruit and vegetables; and reaching the five-a-day target doesn’t have to be difficult. Try incorporating one portion with each meal and snacking on fruit and veg twice a day and you’ll find it easier to stay on track.”
But eating fruit and vegetables is just one way of improving your digestive health. Click to our Get Gut Healthy section to get some more ideas.