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Why are fruits and veggies the key to your long term wellness?



Everyday we take precautions and make decisions to protect our health. This ranges from taking the stairs for exercise to washing our hands before meals. Choosing to eat fruits and vegetables is another important health decision we must make. We all know eating fruits and vegetables helps prevent non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and heart diseases. However, did you know there are other indirect benefits of eating fruits and vegetables?


Every time people choose to consume a fruit or vegetable, they choose to protect their own health. This seemingly small decision can have a large impact according to the transfer theory. Transfer refers to the process where lessons learned in one situation are used in another situation. In health, the transfer theory states that engaging in a small health-promoting behavior means someone is more likely to make health-promoting decisions in future occasions. Health psychologists and medical professionals have discovered that the transfer theory could be widely applied in health-related decisions, with a strong correlation between the intake of fruits and vegetables and other healthy behaviors such as physical activity [1]. The study showed that a person who decided to make a healthy decision is also much less likely to engage in future health-risky activities such as smoking. This means that every time we choose to consume a piece of fruit and vegetable, it is a step that will lead us to make many more health-promoting decisions in the future. And if we are looking to make large health improvements in our lives, one seemingly small decision, like eating five portions of fruits and vegetables a day (aka the '5 A Day'), could already lead to some life-changing benefits to our personal wellness that you have never imagined!


In addition to promoting healthier decisions, increasing fruit and vegetable consumption is also proven to improve our mental health. Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants. Not only does it combat free radicals linked to cancer and heart disease, studies have also shown that antioxidants in fruits and vegetables could decrease the oxidant stress and risk of depression, which could not be done by antioxidant supplements [2]. This highlights the importance of establishing a habit of eating adequate amount of fruits and vegetables, rather than relying purely on dietary supplements.


In short, the daily consumption of fruits and vegetables is vitally important for our physical health, as well as our mental wellbeing. So don't forget to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day to keep your body and mind healthy and strong! While it is approaching 2021, why not set yourself a '5 A Day' resolution to start off your New Year right!



Written by: Danika Meldrum

Reference:

[1] Lippke, Sonia, Claudio R. Nigg, and Jason E. Maddock. "Health-promoting and health-risk behaviors: Theory-driven analyses of multiple health behavior change in three international samples." International journal of behavioral medicine 19.1 (2012): 1-13. [click here]

[2] Payne, Martha E., et al. "Fruit, vegetable, and antioxidant intakes are lower in older adults with depression." Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 112.12 (2012): 2022-2027. [click here]


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