Fruits and vegetables are the basis of the latest version of the Pyramid of Healthy Eating and Physical Activity
A new version of the project known as the "Pyramid of Healthy Eating and Physical Activity" was published in 2016 by the Food and Nutrition Institute. How does the latest version differ from previous versions?
Compared to previous versions, the latest version of the "Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Pyramid" places fruit and vegetables no longer on a slightly higher level, but as the very basis of a healthy diet. Numerous scientific studies have played a decisive role in the motives for this change, both with regard to the benefits of daily fruit and vegetables as well as the effects of a vegan diet on the body.
According to the latest recommendations, at least 400 grams of vegetables and fruit should be consumed daily, preferably fresh. However, the right choice of products plays an important role. Studies also indicate that it is best to divide the daily supply of fruits and vegetables into 7 portions consumed at different times.
As far as the benefits of regular intake of adequate amounts of vegetables and fruits are concerned, first of all, the scientists have noticed a clear connection between a high supply of them in the diet and reduced mortality. Research also shows that people who regularly eat fruit and vegetables are less likely to suffer from depression.
In turn, the Polish research carried out by the Food and Nutrition Institute shows, among other things, that the growing consumption of vegetables and fruit has probably contributed to a threefold decrease in the number of stomach cancer cases over the last 50 years.
It should be noted that vegetables have a stronger positive effect on our body than fruits. It is worth mentioning that the positive effects of eating dried fruits and juices have also been observed. On the other hand, consumption of highly processed vegetables is strongly discouraged, especially as a part of a daily diet.
Scientists recommend that the ratio of vegetables to fruit in our daily diet should be approximately 3:1.
But what exactly is the reason for the positive effect of regular consumption of fruit and vegetables on our body? These products are a really rich source of vitamins and microelements, including among others beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium or fibre. Some of these compounds have strong antioxidant properties, protecting cells from free radical damage. The vitamins in question have a regulatory effect on the function of the digestive system and on cholesterol and glucose levels in the blood.
At the same time, however, it should be noted that fruit in particular is often a rich source of simple sugars, substances whose consumption should be limited.
What is the best way to compose our daily vegetable and fruit menu? Apart from the already mentioned rule of keeping the right proportions, the simplest method is to choose vegetables and fruit according to their colors. Sounds strange? Only on the surface. The color largely indicates the nutritional properties. So, for example, orange fruits and vegetables are rich sources of such substances as carotenoids, including beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin and hesperidin. Red-colored vegetables and fruits, in turn, contain resveratrol, lycopene, and anthocyanins, i.e. organic chemical compounds characterized by very strong antioxidant properties.
So it is worth ensuring that our daily portion of vegetables and fruit contains the whole range of colors: white, red, violet, orange and green.
Of course, the best solution is to buy organically grown vegetables and fruits. Otherwise, we should always remember to wash the produce very carefully before eating it.