Why Malaysians Aren’t Eating Enough Fruits

Did you know eating more fruits and vegetables could potentially save your life?

Researchers at Imperial College London estimate that around 7.8 million deaths worldwide could potentially be prevented each year just by consuming 10 portions (or 800 grams) of fruits and vegetables a day.

Our own Ministry of Health recommends that we eat at least 3 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruits each day. In a time rife with fad diets and so-called  “miracle foods” marketed as the solution to all life’s ills, eating good old fruits and vegetables sounds like the easiest way to good health. However, most Malaysian adults don’t actually eat enough fruits and vegetables at all.

Related: 9 Local Malaysian Fruits That Will Give You Glowing Skin

For a country with an incredible range of readily-available and delicious fruits, we don’t eat very much of them. According to the National Health and Morbidity Survey in 2015, only 6% of adult Malaysians consume the sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables. With so many fruits at our disposal, why do we eat so little of it?

The folks at Marigold have identified a couple of reasons why, and we’ve got the solutions to help you add more fruits to your diet.

1.  We’re too busy

Nine out of 10 Malaysian employees expect their jobs to get more challenging over the next five years. The volatile job market doesn’t help either, and Malaysians are more pressured to work harder to cope. Almost 75% of Malaysians surveyed have admitted to working 2 to 5 hours of overtime to keep up with their jobs. Now with the amount of time and energy we spend at work, it can be hard to drag ourselves to the nearest grocery store or market to get fresh fruits.

What to do: Buy your fruits on the weekend! Most fruits should easily last through the week, as long as they aren’t already cut. But that brings us to the next problem.


2. We’re also probably a little lazy

Once you’ve made the effort to go buy your fruits from the supermarket, there’s still the hassle of washing, peeling, and cutting them before you can actually eat them. With our busy lives, the amount of overtime we working adults put into our jobs, even a few extra minutes spent preparing fruits at the kitchen counter can feel like too much of an ask at the end of a long day.

What to do:  Buy easy-to-eat fruits like apples and grapes that don’t require peeling. Wash them as soon as you get back from the grocery store and leave them in the fridge where you can see it. That’ll make you far more likely to grab them to snack on. Alternatively, a glass of fruit juice counts as a single serving of fruit, according to the NHS.


3. Fruits can be expensive

Even without the recent increase of 4.1% in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of food and non-alcoholic beverages, the additional cost of buying fruits – which can seem like an optional purchase – can be a turn off.

What to do: Shop local. The less distance your produce has to travel to reach you, the less you have to pay and they’re fresher to boot, which is why our own local pineapples cost far less than those air-flown in from Japan. Make sure you’re getting the best deal by buying fruits that are in season.