What did the Victorians do for us?

They told us: ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’.

And it seems that 21st century doctors agree.

University of Oxford researchers say in the BMJ that if over 50s ate one apple a day, 8500 deaths from heart attacks and strokes could be avoided every year.

Dr Briggs, one of the researchers said: “The Victorians had it about right when they came up with their brilliantly clear and simple public health advice, ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’

“It just shows how effective small changes in diet can be, and that both drugs and healthier living can make a real difference in preventing heart disease and stroke”.

Population surveys suggest that more than two-thirds of adults do not eat the recommended five portions of fruit and veg a day but as part of healthy diet, they can make a real difference to risk factors for our cardiovascular health.

So, how to increase your fruit and veg to add up to 5 daily portions:

Always include fruit as part of your breakfast.  This can include berries on your cereals, grated apple or pear in porridge, a piece of fruit alongside your toast or after your eggs.

Eat fruit as snacks but always include some protein as well to help balance blood sugar levels:  fresh fruit stirred into bio live plain yoghurt, a few nuts with a piece of fruit, vegetable sticks with dips such as hummous or cottage cheese.

Add salad to sandwiches and wraps, eat vegetable and lentil soups, add plenty of vegetables to casseroles.

Aim for at least 2 green vegetables with your main meals and include root vegetables or roast vegetables as well.

Vegetable juices count towards your 5 a day but if these are strained then you are missing out on that all important fibre.  Fruit juices are high in sugars so make sure that you drink these with a meal that contains proteins, healthy fats or fibre and stick to one a day only.

And remember, by including fruit and vegetables in your diet you are also protecting yourself against other degenerative conditions such as diabetes, Alzeheimer’s and cancers.