In Australia there is a 5-2 rule for both men and women aged 50 and older, meaning you should be consuming five servings of veggies and two servings of fruit each day, along with certain grains, meats and dairy, in order to provide your body with the nutrients and energy it needs.
However, the amount of plant matter actually consumed is significantly less than the recommended amount. In fact, research from earlier this year found that only two percent of the Australian population eat the minimum amount of fruit and veg and the majority of the population (60 per cent) eat just two or fewer serves per day.
Interestingly, Australia is not the only country struggling with their fruit and veg intake.
A new study from Canada has found that men aged 65 and older are much less likely than women to eat the suggested amount of fruits and veggies each day. Perhaps more surprisingly, these men did not seem inclined to change their daily intake. Nor, did it matter if they had social or emotional support to access nutritional advice or have their meals prepared for them by a caregiver or wife.
Whether in Australia or Canada, the government’s nutritional guidelines have been established to help create a standard for good health for all ages. The dietary suggestions are associated with reduced risk of stroke, cancer, depression and dementia. So why are we ignoring them? And why are older men in particular being so stubborn?
Interestingly, the Canadian study also explained that some forms of support for senior women actually discouraged them from eating fruits and veggies. For instance, those who had cooking or shopping support were less likely to eat the suggested serving than those who had emotional support to eat well, such as through companionship or encouragement. Researchers say this is because these women choose their food and cook for themselves.
Tell us, do you eat enough fruit and veg? How about the men in your life?