Healthy Five a Day!
Get Your Five a Day!
We have all heard the advice from experts telling us to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. The ‘5-a-day’ mantra can sometimes seems like it’s easier said than done. Knowing why it’s so important, and how to get your five a day, can help in ensuring we stick successfully to this ‘golden rule’ of healthy nutrition.
Getting Five a Day Matters
Eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day (a minimum of 400g in total) is the recommendation of the World Health Organization and is a key element of your diet that can help maintain health and prevent serious health conditions.
Eating five a day…
- Lowers the risk of developing serious health problems including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity and some cancers.
- Helps maintain a healthy weight, lower blood pressure and good heart health.
- Provides key vitamins and minerals needed for optimum health, such as vitamin C, potassium and folate.
- Gives an excellent source of dietary fiber, reducing the risks of bowel cancer and helping to maintain healthy digestion.
- What’s more, fresh fruits and vegetables add color, variety and wonderful flavors to your diet!
What Counts Towards Your Five a Day?
It is sometimes a little confusing to know what exactly counts as your five a day. Here are some key points to remember:
- Five a day means a combined total of 5 portions of fruits and vegetables each day (not 5 of each).
- You will get the most benefit from a variety of different fruits and vegetables, as different fruits and vegetables contain different combinations of vitamins and minerals. Going for a mix of colors in your diet is a simple way to check that you are maximizing this variety.
- Potatoes, unfortunately, don’t count towards your five a day as they are predominantly starch and the same is true of cassava.
- A glass of fruit juice (150 ml) constitutes one portion of your five a day, but extra helpings shouldn’t be counted in addition.
- Frozen fruits and vegetables do count and are a good choice as often contain more nutrients than fresh produce.
- Dried fruit and canned fruits and vegetables also count towards your five a day.
5 Tips for Boosting your Five-a-day
1. Drink a glass of fruit juice or eat one portion of fresh fruit with your breakfast each morning. Alternatively, add some chopped fruit on top of your breakfast cereal or oatmeal.
2. Instead of chips or a chocolate bar, eat a piece of fruit or some vegetable crudites for your mid-morning or afternoon snack.
3. Swap a cup of coffee or soda with a fruit and/or vegetable smoothie.
4. Add an extra portion of vegetables to your evening meal.
5. Cook 1-2 vegetable-based meal each week.
Following these simple tips will add variety and vitality to your diet.
Finally, try not to think of five-a-day as a burden or a chore. Increasing the amount of fruit and vegetables in your diet can be an exciting and healthy experience to discover new tastes and new healthy meals you haven’t tried before.
Eat well and enjoy!