Upon Googling the phrase "7 fruits and vegetables a day", I am greeted with a plethora of articles and blogs with contrasting statistics and opinions. Some pages are telling the general public to eat 7 portions, some advise 10, yet more recommend anywhere between the two, and even more simply tell us to eat as much as possible. People have taken to the Internet to voice their opinions on this issue, either writing lists of crafty ways to slip more fruits and vegetables into your diet, or simply telling the world not to bother and to simply eat as healthily as you can.
It's clear that another health food craze has hit us - but how achievable is this new regime on a daily basis?
When entering most supermarkets, customers are greeted with £1 offers on doughnuts, cookies or flapjacks; the fruits and vegetables section is usually located round the corner, at the back, at twice the price. So if consumers are being greeted with cheaper, in-your-face options, why wouldn't they select the sugary goods? Indeed, price is a big consideration in this context - it's all well and good for doctors to recommend fresh fruits and vegetables, but if people can only afford the frozen stuff (which experts claim isn't as effective), are they being left out of a healthy lifestyle? Surely if people are going to recommend more fresh fruits and vegetables are eaten, the price of fresh portions should be decreased?
And won't this new discovery trigger the fruit or vegetable diets, making them more popular than ever? Millions of people could well consider an all-fruit or all-vegetable diet a sure-fire way to preserve their health, especially with statistics dictating that the risk of death can be reduced by over 40% if seven to ten portions of fruits and vegetables are eaten. This craze, which could potentially reach new heights, will provide a diet lacking in other essential nutrients, such as protein, carbohydrates and dairy products. Furthermore, calorie-counters will incorporate a larger fruit and vegetable count in their daily allowance, making their diet increasingly unbalanced.
If you live alone, buying up enough fruits and vegetables will probably be easy enough. But how do those with families to feed incorporate these foods into the lives of those around them? 7 fruits and vegetables a day, if spread out, involves 1-2 portions per meal, with snacks necessarily including the same. Working adults on the go will find it difficult to stick to this diet plan, not to mention children, whose parents will already find it hard enough to make them eat the stuff, let alone increasing quantities of it.
Students will most likely have a similar problem - the typical student budget dictates that noodles and baked beans reign supreme, whilst fruits and vegetables are rarely a priority. Very few students cook from scratch, and when we do, fruits and vegetables are rarely in sight. We, like most people, will opt for the quick and easy option, which is why we receive so many "money-off" vouchers and discount codes for takeaway outlets in the post...
If we're constantly worrying about our physical health, won't our mental health decline? Life can be stressful enough without worrying that we're neglecting our health and increasing our chances of getting cancer or dying at a younger age - surely the best policy is simply to eat as healthily as possible, whilst enjoying your life? There's no point in worrying you're shortening your life every time you pull a microwave meal out of the freezer or order a takeaway - whilst health is important, so is quality of life - and a health food scare will do anything but help your mental wellbeing.
Surely we should focus, not on cramming as many fruits and vegetables as we can into our diet, but on living as healthy and happy a life we can manage, balancing our nutrition with other important aspects of life, such as work, friends and family - a healthy body is all well and good, but a healthy life sounds even better.