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This month saw the launch of our brand new #CommuniFitty campaign, created to bring the people of the North East together in an effort to get fit and healthy as part of a community. Part of that campaign is encouraging you all to join in with #FruitFriday; whether you're on the move, in the office, or at home, making fruit your afternoon snack is an easy track to multiple health benefits.

We all know about the 5 portions of fruit or veg that we should be consuming a day, but how many of us actually stick to it? It may seem like a lot, but getting the right amount of fruit into your diet is so important; here are the main reasons why:

They reduce the risk of diseases, including heart disease and cancer

Research from the World Health Organisation has suggested that many adult cancers are related to nutrition deficiencies in our diet, and could potentially be avoided if we keep to that 5-a-day rule. The risk of suffering from a stroke could also be reduced by eating plenty of potassium, the best choices for this being bananas, grapes, leeks and cabbage.

They are high in Vitamin C

Something that is generally not consumed enough in our diets, Vitamin C is vitally important for our bodies to function properly. It's been shown that those who eat more Vitamin C are more likely to keep flu and the common cold at bay, and therefore less likely to take sick days. Vitamin C also helps keep teeth and gums healthy (although, being high in sugar, too much fruit could have the opposite effect!), and aids with growth and the repair of tissues from cuts and wounds

They are part of maintaining a balanced diet

Of course, despite the numerous benefits of fruit, eating that alone would have more negative effects than good. We are simply recommending that you incorporate fruit into your diet, as well as consuming an equal amount of the other food groups.

If you're still thinking there's no way you can fit 5 portions of fruit into your day, then here's some tips for you:

Breakfast: The morning is probably the easiest time for you to tick off those fruit portions as well as giving you a fresh burst of energy to start your day; top your cereal, porridge or yoghurt with some raspberries, or make your own smoothie with any combination of ingredients you fancy!

Lunch: Rather than buying a ready-made sandwich, prepare your own or get one made, making it easier to add lettuce, tomatoes or onions. Or, really go for a health kick and have a salad for lunch!

Snacks: Swap those biscuits or chocolate bars for a bowl of chopped melon, a handful of grapes or a good old apple, and you've got one portion in the bag, as well as cutting down on calories! Fruit tend to be low in fat and cholesterol too, so you can satisfy that mid-afternoon snack craving with peace of mind. Having a glass of fruit juice rather than a fizzy can of pop is also a really simple change to get some fruit into your day.

Dinner: If you're making your own pizza, try topping with some pineapple for a Hawaiian twist. Or, if you're cooking up a curry, add some dried fruit like raisins. Every little helps!

Mixing fruit into your diet is easier than you think, and could help you cut out those processed nasties that are stopping you from losing those last few pounds!

Don't forget to join in with Fruit Friday this week! Simply tweet us a picture of your fruity food at @NouveauDandF and include the hashtag #FruitFriday!

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