We are all familiar with the guidelines to have at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetable a day right? Evidence shows that there are real health benefits to having at least 5 portions (that’s approximately 80g for one portion), of a variety of fruit and veg per day. This is based on advice from the World Health Organisation, which has shown eating this amount of fruit and veg is associated with a significant reduction in the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers. But why specifically should we eat 5 a day?
#1 Fruit and veg are a great source of vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, potassium, folate etc. As different fruits and veg have different concentrations of these micronutrients, the wider range of fruit and veg you eat the better, you’ll increase your chances of getting all the vitamins and minerals you need in your diet.
#2 They’re also a great source of dietary fibre. This helps to maintain a healthy gut, prevents digestion issues and constipation and helps to keep you feeling full. It can also reduce the risk of developing bowel cancer so it’s all good.
#3 They have been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers. They contribute to overall health and keep your body functioning in optimal condition.
#4 They contribute to a healthy, balanced diet (learn more about what a balanced diet is here), and they tend to be low in fat and calories (assuming they haven’t been fried in lots of oil!)
#5 They taste amazing! Nothing beats a good crisp apple, or a juicy slice of pineapple, or a delicious oven roasted sweet potato… There’s so much variety that there is bound to be something you like. If you’re not a huge fan then try and be brave and explore some of the more unusual varieties of fruit and veg and see if you can find something you love!
Almost all fruit and vegetables count towards your 5 a day – they can be fresh, frozen, dried or juiced. Only potatoes, yams and cassava don’t count as they’re mainly starchy carbohydrates, but pulses and beans can count as a portion. Try to vary the types you eat as much as possible – some examples include 4 florets of broccoli. 1 pear, 3 tbsps of carrots, 8 strawberries.
Here are a few tips to help you hit your 5 a day:
- Add a handful of berries or some chopped banana to porridge or natural yoghurt.
- Add some spinach, mushrooms or tomatoes to scrambled eggs.
- Try having sticks of peppers, carrot and cucumber with some hummus for a snack
- Add beans or lentils to your salads or casseroles.
- Always have some vegetables or a salad with your main meals
- Go for tomato or vegetable-based sauces for pasta and fish etc
- Grab an apple or banana for your mid morning snack, or a handful of grapes and some seeds.
- Check out our recipe blog for loads of plant-based, fruit and veggie filled meal and snack ideas www.pureformfitnesskitchen.com
Have fun trying to hit your 5 a day! 🙂
PS: See our article on heart health over here : DARLING MAGAZINE NORTH SURREY
This article is written by Dr Nancy Priston. Please remember, she isn’t a medical Dr, the information on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your GP or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on this site.