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Fruit and vegetables contain many vitamins and minerals essential for good health, as well as phytochemicals (substances made by the plants such as polyphenols) that may have health benefits. They are also generally low in fat and high in fibre. Many studies have shown that people who consume diets high in fruit and vegetables have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some forms of cancer.
We should all be aiming for at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day. This includes fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit and vegetables, as well as smoothies and 100% fruit juices. One portion is generally 80g, for example:
- a medium piece of fruit such as an apple, orange or banana,
- half a large grapefruit,
- a slice of melon
- 2 satsumas.
For dried fruit, a portion is 30g, for example 3 dried apricots or 1 tablespoon of raisins.
A glass of 150mls of fruit juice counts as a maximum of one portion per day. For more information on what counts click here. Choose as wide a variety as possible and if you are opting for fresh produce go for those in season as they are often cheaper and may be more sustainable.
- 2 broccoli spears
- 4 heaped tablespoons of kale, spinach, spring greens or green beans
- 3 heaped tablespoons of carrots, peas or sweetcorn,
- 8 cauliflower florets.
- 3 sticks of celery
- 5cm piece of cucumber
- 1 medium tomato or 7 cherry tomatoes.
Beans and pulses, such as kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils and baked beans, can also count towards your 5-A-Day target (a portion is 80g), although like fruit juices they are generally recommended to only count as one portion a day, even if more is consumed.