‘5-a-Day’ is a campaign to promote the consumption of five daily portions of fruit and vegetables. It is run in 40 countries worldwide through different institutions, associations and companies, where it takes different formats but has the same end goal: to make people aware of the importance of consuming fresh fruit and vegetables to maintain a healthy balanced diet.
Because, according to recommendations by doctors and dieticians, five portions of fruit and vegetables is the minimum amount a human being needs for proper nourishment. These recommendations are in line with the World Health Organization’s current recommendations for a healthy diet.
Fruit and vegetables provide the human body with essential nutrients because they are rich in vitamins, mineral salts, fibre and carbohydrates. However, this isn’t the only reason we need to consume five or more portions on a daily basis. The prevention of diseases that appear in adulthood has to start in the formative years of our lives. Later, as adults, fresh produce consumption will consolidate healthy eating habits, which will be the basis for maintaining proper nutrition and a good level of health.
If you would like to know the equivalence in grams and portions, consult the How Many Grams Make Up a Portion
A portion can be defined in different ways. We can define it as the number or amount of fruits or vegetables that can fit into one hand. Examples of portions are an apple, an orange, one-and-a-half kiwis, a medium-sized dish of vegetables or a bowl of fruit salad.
A portion can also be the right amount or portion of food for a ‘normal-sized’ dish for each person at the table. A portion of fruit and vegetables would be: for large fruits such as watermelon or melon, a good serving; for medium-sized fruits such as apples, bananas and oranges, one piece of fruit; for small fruits like grapes, as many as can fill a milk glass. A glass of 100% natural fruit or vegetable juice (150 ml), a bowl of salad, half a cup of peas or ¼ of cup of nuts are other portion measurements. (Source: www.frutasyhortalizas.com)
A very important one. After water, fruit and vegetables are the foods we should eat most often and in the largest amounts in order to maintain a balanced diet. This explains why they form the base of the pyramid.
Obviously, no one food provides all of the nutrients our organism needs. Only a variety of produce and the consumption of adequate portions of each will help children grow as they should.
See the food pyramid
The ‘5-a-Day’ campaign is a joint initiative by Mercabarna and the Barcelona City and Province Fish and Seafood Wholesalers’ Association (AGEM), which was launched in 1998.
The centrepiece of the campaign consists of a visit to the Mercabarna facilities, where children discover the huge variety of fruit and vegetables they can eat and get to sample some. It helps them become aware of how important fruit and vegetables are for healthy eating. This activity is boosted by three complementary ones: a previous assignment prior to the visit and a follow-up one, both at school, and an assignment to be done at home.
The campaign is aimed at public, private and state-assisted 4th-grade school pupils (9-10 years of age) in Catalonia.
The main aim of the ‘5-a-Day’ campaign is to get children to eat more fruit and vegetables, both at home with their families and at school, helping them find out about the many good things they offer.
Registration for the next school year will open on 1 June. To participate, call 935 562 000, or e-mail email@example.com.
Getting to Mercabarna is very easy. Here you have an interactive map where you can see the different arrival routes.
With the campaign organisers: Mercabarna or the Barcelona City and Province Fish and Seafood Wholesalers’ Association (AGEM).
Fruit and the vegetables supply essential nutrients for the human body because they are rich in vitamins, mineral salts, fibre and carbohydrates. If you’d like to know the specific benefits of each food group, visit the Benefits of Fruit and Vegetables section.
We can classify fruit and vegetables into five colours: red, green, purple, white and yellow/orange. Each colour has different chemical compounds (phytochemicals, or plant chemicals) which supply different health properties. So to reap all of the benefits of the different phytochemicals we have to eat fruit and vegetables of different colours. Including fruit and vegetables of each colour also makes it easier to consume the five recommended daily portions.
Phytochemicals are bioactive compounds found naturally in fruit, vegetables and legumes, and which help the organism to prevent diseases such as cancer. Some of them have an antioxidant action.
Antioxidants are chemical compounds naturally present in most fruits and vegetables. They are important because they prevent cell damage, since they stabilise the “oxidants” or “free radicals” that naturally form in our organism when oxygen is used. Certain vitamins have an antioxidant effect (C, E, carotenoids, beta-carotenes), several chemical substances found in foods (phytochemicals) and other compounds such as phytoestrogens, glutathione, certain phenols, flavonoids, etc.
Antioxidant properties are present not only in fruit and vegetables but also in other foods such as tea, and spices such as oregano.
Fibre reduces glucose absorption, helps lower cholesterol levels, makes us feel fuller and prevents constipation. On the whole it is found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and wholegrain cereals such as oats, barley and rye.