Fresh fruit and vegetable consumption is expected to rise as more people stay at home due to COVID-19, as recent research suggests that lack of time was a factor in Kiwis failing to consume their recommended daily intake.
5+ A Day Charitable Trust Project Manager Carmel Ireland says recent research indicates that those with more time on their hands do consume more fresh produce. Given many of us are in social isolation, and we are all very aware of building and maintaining immunity, we expect Kiwis to be eating more fresh produce.
A new nationwide survey of 1000 people about the breakfast habits of Kiwis in regard to the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables, suggested that those aged 60+ who regularly eat breakfast on weekdays are much more likely to consume fresh fruit and vegetables at that time compared to their younger counterparts.
“This suggests to us that time is a big factor in Kiwis consuming fruit and vegetables, as many younger people rush out the door to work or school.” Says Ireland.
“People are very focused on buying essentials and dried goods right now as the threat of COVID-19 draws closer and that is understandable. But fresh produce is one of the most valuable items you can place in your shopping basket and will go a long way towards ensuring you remain as healthy as possible.?”
“For your body to function at its best, it is important to eat enough fresh fruit and vegetables to give your body a lot of the nutrients, minerals and vitamins it needs. We need to focus on eating well, to help maintain a healthy immune system,” says Ireland.
Recent Ministry of Health data shows only 53 per cent of New Zealanders are consuming the recommended daily intake of vegetables and 51.5 per cent are eating enough fruit so there is plenty of room for improvement in our diets. Ireland says people should aim to eat at least three servings of vegetables and two pieces of fruit every day to maintain optimum health.
“Our New Zealand growers produce more than enough fresh fruit and vegetables to feed our nation. Now, more than ever, Kiwis should be enjoying a wide range of colourful fresh produce. Look for items that are particularly high in vitamin C such as kiwifruit, citrus and feijoas – all of which are coming into season right now.”
Apples, pears, passionfruit, mandarins, persimmons, capsicums, courgettes, butternut and buttercup squash, eggplant and parsnips are also great during autumn.
Eating the recommended amounts of fruit and vegetables, washing your hands frequently, and getting enough sleep each night are all key to keeping your body’s immune defenses at their optimum.