Should we eat more fruit and veg? Don’t be disheartened…


We all know that eating fruit and veg is good for us. The 5-a-day campaign has successfully got that message across. Whether or not we achieve it is another thing. Is it really that good or is it just another arbitrary target that some well meaning out of touch health professional set?

Today researchers at Imperial College London have released their results from a big study where they pooled data from 95 studies and they have found some really positive results. 

In fact the benefits don’t stop at 5 portions of fruit and veg a day. The results suggest that 10 portions has an even greater benefit. 

They calculated such eating habits could prevent 7.8 million premature deaths each year.

If you don’t eat much at the moment don’t be disheartened. The good news is that any increase in intake is good and can make a significant difference to your health risk.

‘Compared with eating no fruit or veg a day, it showed:

🔶200g cut the risk of cardiovascular disease by 13% while 800g cut the risk by 28%

🔶200g cut the risk of cancer by 4%, while 800g cut the risk by 13%

🔶200g cut the risk of a premature death by 15%, while 800g cut the risk by 31%’

200g is only 2&1/2 portions a day and this still has a beneficial effect. 800g is the headline amount i.e. 10 portions. 

They also found that it’s a wide range of fruits and veggies that are correlated with the benefits rather than one or two ‘superfoods’ so carry on with the ‘eat a rainbow’ approach and you won’t go far wrong. 

What is a portion? 

For an adult it’s 80g per portion so 400g for 5-a-day. 80g is essentially a medium piece like an apple, pear or carrot, two small plums, or 3 tablespoons of peas or other cooked veggies. 

For a child a portion is said to be about 40g. Obviously for a baby it’s smaller and a teenager it’s bigger so we often talk about a cupped handful or fist sized amount (the individual’s own hand). 

I often get asked about fruit juice or smoothies. These do count but only the first 150mls. After that, because if the free sugars, they count as a soft drink..!
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