A RECENT report by England’s National Food Strategy suggests that “historic reforms of the food system are needed” to better combat obesity and related diseases, and we should tax sugar and salt, and “prescribe fruit and vegetables” through the NHS.

Described as a “masterly study of the UK’s food problem”, the report has received the tick of approval from a number of renowned academics, businesspeople and chefs, including Jamie Oliver.

We’ve all heard talk of the sugar tax before, but what benefits could prescribing fruit and veg bring?

Dame Louise Casey felt that the review tackled the “divide between the rich and the poor” head on, with “measures like extending free school meals to more children, and trialling prescriptions of fruit and veg, could kickstart the change we need to see”. And businessman Henry Dimbleby, who led the review, said that his recommendations could help an average person lose two kilograms of weight in a year.

Cutting sugary foods for fruit doesn’t just help you rack up your levels of crucial vitamins in the short term, like fibre, vitamin C, potassium, and iron - all important nutrients required to keep your body functioning healthily. It also helps reduce the longer-term risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease, which is one of the biggest killers in the west of Scotland.

Diets high in salt contribute to high blood pressure, and high sugar diets greatly increase your risk of organ damage, such as fatty liver disease and diabetes.

An apple a day really does keep the doctor away: so when looking to improve your health, it’s important to go back to basics and aim for your five daily portions of fruit and veg.

Not only will your general health see benefits, eating healthily is good for your mind, mood and concentration.

Whether or not we will, one day, see fruit and vegetable prescriptions, focusing on diet improvement sooner rather than later is key: you are safeguarding your physical health, whilst protecting yourself mentally too.