Sunday 3 February 2013


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We are all aware that we should eat plenty of fruit and vegetables aid a healthy diet, but how can we ensure we meet the magic figure of 5 portions of fruits and vegetables each day? How do we know what portion size counts as one of your 5 A DAY, and are all fruits and vegetables equal or are some more equal than others?

Almost all fruit and vegetables count towards your 5 A DAY. It is easier than you may think to get your recommended amount each day. Fruit and vegetables don’t have to be fresh to count as a portion. Nor do they have to be eaten on their own: they also count if they're part of a meal or dish. To get the most benefit from your five portions eat a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. This is because different fruit and vegetables contain different combinations of fibre, minerals and other nutrients.

Taking dietary supplements does not have the same health benefits as eating more fruit and vegetables. Fruit and vegetables contain additional beneficial substances. For most adults, a healthy and balanced diet containing at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day will contain all the nutrients needed.

The following count towards your 5 A DAY:

  • Fresh fruit and vegetables. The exception to this is potatoes, yams, cassava and plantain as they are considered nutritionally as a starchy food.
  • Frozen fruit and vegetables.
  • Tinned or canned fruit and vegetables (buy the ones tinned in natural juice or water, with no added sugar or salt).
  • Dried fruit, such as currants, dates, sultanas and figs.
  • Fruit and vegetables cooked in dishes such as soups, stews or pasta dishes.
  • Fruit or vegetable juice. A 150ml glass of unsweetened vegetable or fruit juice counts as a maximum of one portion a day, however much you drink. That's mainly because juice contains less fibre than whole fruits and vegetables.
  • Smoothies. A smoothie containing all of the edible pulped fruit and/or vegetable may count as more than one portion but this depends on how it's made. Smoothies count as up to a maximum of two portions per day.
  • Beans and pulses. These contain fewer nutrients than other fruits and vegetables and so only count as one portion a day, no matter how many you eat.
  • Ready meals and shop-bought pasta sauces, soups and puddings. Fruit and vegetables are present in these meals. Some ready-made foods are high in salt, sugar and fat, so only have them occasionally or in small amounts. You can find the salt, sugar and fat content of ready-made foods on the label.

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