Although the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables are
well-established, most people still don't eat enough of them.
Some people don't like the way they taste or look, and as
a result have a hard time incorporating them into their diet;
others simply don't know (or ignore) the nutritional value
most fruits and vegetables have.
this study, patients were divided into two groups. One group
received nutritional counseling on the importance of eating
fruits and vegetables, emphasizing the nutritional value of
food and its effects on the body. The other group received
behavioral counseling, with emphasis on the importance of
eating at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day.
In addition to food intake, the researchers measured blood
pressure and levels of vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene
in the blood. Measurements were taken at the start of the
study and at eight-week and 12-month intervals.
After 12 months, both groups reported an overall increase
in fruit and vegetable consumption. However, patients receiving
behavioral counseling had a higher increase in fruit and vegetable
intake (1.5 portions per day) than those who received nutritional
counseling (0.9 portions per day), and the percentage of those
eating at least five portions per day increased by 42 percent
in the behavioral group versus 27 percent in the nutrition
group. Behavioral counseling patients also demonstrated significantly
higher blood beta-carotene levels.
Health care professionals are well-prepared to speak with
you about the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables. If
you'd like to change the way you eat and need accurate advice,
talk to your doctor today - you'll be glad you did.
Steptoe A, Perkins-Porras L, McKay C, et al.
Behavioural counselling to increase the consumption of fruit
and vegetables in low income adults: randomised trial. British
Medical Journal, April 19, 2003: Volume 326, pp.855-860.