Fruit and vegetables

Fruit and vegetables contain few calories and are rich in nutrients. They have many health benefits and are associated with a lower risk of developing chronic diseases.

It is important to consume the recommended daily amount of at least 250 grams of vegetables and 200 grams of fruit. Important substances in fruit and vegetables include fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, flavonoids, glucosinolates, carotenoids and phytoestrogens.

As yet it has not been possible to attribute the protective effects of fruit and vegetables to any one individual component. It may be that a combination of substances has a protective effect in relation to various diseases. You should therefore make sure you consume a sufficient variety so you get enough of all the nutrients.

Fruit/vegetables and your health

There are a number of health effects associated with consuming sufficient fruit and vegetables.

Fruit and vegetables reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s

Eating lots of fruit and vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s. This is probably linked to the protective effect of antioxidants and important vitamins.

Following a Mediterranean diet, which is based around fruit and vegetables, has also been proven to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. By including a wide variety of fruit and vegetables in your diet, you will ensure you get enough of all the nutrients they contain with a protective effect in relation to the development of Alzheimer’s.

Fruit and vegetables reduce the risk of a stroke

There are indications that eating fruit and vegetables reduces the risk of a stroke. The fibre and healthy nutrients they contain lead to lower blood pressure and a lower LDL cholesterol level.

High blood pressure and high cholesterol are both significant risk factors for a stroke.

Fruit and vegetables reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases

There are indications that eating fruit and vegetables reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. The fibre and healthy nutrients they contain lead to lower blood pressure and a lower LDL cholesterol level.

High blood pressure and high cholesterol are both significant risk factors for developing cardiovascular diseases.

Fruit and vegetables reduce the risk of osteoporosis

Fruit and vegetables contain important nutrients to keep bones healthy, such as calcium, vitamin D, potassium, vitamin K, magnesium and phosphate.

By eating 250 grams of vegetables and 2 pieces of fruit each day, you can ensure you are consuming enough of these nutrients. A number of studies have shown that eating sufficient fruit and vegetables reduces the risk of bone fractures and slows down the decrease in bone density.

Fruit and vegetables reduce the risk of lung cancer

Not eating enough fruit and vegetables appears to increase the risk of lung cancer. You should therefore ensure that you consume at least 250 grams of vegetables (preferably green leafy vegetables) and 200 grams of fruit each day.

By eating a wide variety, you will ensure you consume enough substances that may have a protective effect in relation to lung cancer (such as flavonoids).

Fruit and vegetables reduce the risk of bowel cancer

The risk of bowel cancer is reduced by eating sufficient vegetables. Eating 250 grams of vegetables daily, compared with less than 100 grams, lowers the risk of bowel cancer by 10%.

Fruit also reduces the risk of developing bowel cancer. Consuming 300 grams of fruit each day, compared with 100 grams, lowers the risk of bowel cancer by 10%.

Fruit and vegetables reduce the risk of stomach cancer

Not eating enough fruit and vegetables appears to increase the risk of stomach cancer. You should therefore ensure that you consume at least 250 grams of vegetables and 200 grams of fruit each day.

By eating a wide variety, you will ensure you consume enough substances that may have a protective effect in relation to stomach cancer. The positive effects of fruit (and citrus fruit in particular) are currently regarded as having been proven to a greater extent than the positive effects of vegetables.

Fruit and vegetables reduce the risk of oesophageal cancer

Eating fruit and vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of developing oesophageal cancer. You should therefore ensure that you consume at least 250 grams of vegetables and 200 grams of fruit each day.

By eating a wide variety, you will ensure you consume enough substances that may have a protective effect in relation to the development of oesophageal cancer. The positive effects of vegetables are currently regarded as having been proven to a greater extent than the positive effects of fruit.

Fruit and vegetables reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes

Eating lots of fruit and vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of developing diabetes. Consuming 300 grams of fruit each day, compared with 50 grams, lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes by 10%.

The positive effect of vegetables has primarily been proven for leafy vegetables, such as salad leaves, spinach, endives and pak choi. Vegetables with a high starch content, such as potatoes, beans and sweetcorn, should be eaten in moderation.

Fruit and vegetables reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease

Fruit and vegetables contain many healthy substances, including antioxidants and phytochemicals. There are indications that these substances have a protective effect in relation to neurological and cognitive decline.

Fruit and vegetables reduce the risk of breast cancer

There are indications that eating sufficient fruit and vegetables reduces the risk of breast cancer. You should therefore eat at least 250 grams of vegetables and 200 grams of fruit each day.

By eating a wide variety, you will ensure you consume enough substances that may have a protective effect in relation to breast cancer (such as flavonoids).

Fruit and vegetables reduce the risk of prostate cancer

The precise role played by fruit and vegetables in terms of lowering the risk of prostate cancer is not clear. It may be that antioxidants and lycopenes, substances that are present in fruit and vegetables, have a protective effect.

iGene Passport

iGene offers you an insight into your personal risks of developing conditions and tells you whether fruit and vegetables may be particularly important for you to help prevent certain conditions. In addition, an iGene Passport provides you with information on what else you can do to reduce any risks. Here we focus on behaviour that will help you maximise the benefits to your health. In the publication below you can read more about what iGene can do for you.

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