Are we eating enough fruit and vegetables?

A recent survey of Eurostat data, as reported in this article ‘Are Europeans getting their ‘five a day’?’ from Food Navigator, suggests that people in Europe aren’t consuming the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

Fruit and vegetables are important for securing the nutrients and minerals we need to protect us against noncommunicable diseases and to keep us healthy.

The survey found that just one in four people (27%) ate fruit and vegetables twice a day in 2017. The survey also found that the amount of fruit and vegetables eaten differed significantly between different countries in the EU, with Ireland and Belgium consuming at least one serving of vegetables a day whilst Hungary, Romania and Latvia were among the lowest scoring countries.

Potential health benefits of eating peanuts

A recent article entitled ‘What are the nutritional benefits of peanuts?’ by Medical News Today has looked at some of the potential health benefits of the small legume.

While some people can be allergic to the proteins arachin and conarachin in peanuts, for those who aren’t allergic, they can have several health benefits and be very nutritious. When eaten raw, peanuts can be an excellent source of protein, which is essential for building an repairing body cells, fatty acids and dietary fibre.

These nutritional properties can work towards supporting heart health, maintaining a healthy weight and helping manage blood sugar levels.

food that lifts mood

Can food lift your mood?

While some “junk” foods can lift our mood because of their taste, there are some specific nutrients that could help lift your mood more long term.

The article ‘5 nutrients that could lift your mood’ from, lists the five nutrients that can lift your mood as:

- Magnesium - it is suggested that magnesium is related to hormone levels and low magnesium is associated with low testosterone, which is associated with low mood.

- Zinc - studies have associated low zinc levels with low mood and while these studies haven’t been fully substantiated it further supports reasoning to maintain optimal zinc levels.

- Vitamin D – the vitamin is also known as the sunshine vitamin as we can secure vitamin D from the sun and, because of this, there have been links between vitamin D, depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

- Omega 3 fatty acids – there have also been studies on whether fish oil can alleviate clinical depression, however, it is worth noting that while these three particular studies mentioned were considered large scale, they each used different methodologies, therefore further research would be needed.

- Tryptophan – this essential amino acid is used to produce serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood.

While there are studies that link many nutrients and foods with mood, the key takeaway from this article is that the best way of staying healthy and happy is to maintain a balanced diet that achieves the optimum levels of nutrients and minerals.

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Alison Astill-Smith author Alison is Director and Founder of Metabolics who writes about Metabolics updates, events and natural healthcare. Her experience and passion for natural supplements and healthcare comes from her years of experience as a practising osteopath, having founded Metabolics in her search for high quality, natural products in her own work. Alison has been a qualified and practising Osteopath since 1981 and regularly gives seminars on a range of healthcare subjects to the wider practitioner community helping share her knowledge and experience.