Is 5-a-day enough?

Ali Sheehan-Dare
Aug 12th 2020
healthscience

Evidence shows that there are significant health benefits to eating at least 5 portions, 80g per portion, of a variety of fruit and veg every day, but is more than 5 even better?

Off the bat, here are a few reasons to the eat more fruit and veg:

  • Fruit and veg are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C
  • They provide an excellent source of dietary fibre, helping to maintain a healthy gut
  • They can help to reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and some cancers

The NHS 5-a-day campaign suggests eating 5 portions, but is that all you need?

A study carried out by a number of universities — including Imperial College London, Leeds, and Harvard — analysed 95 studies which each monitored people over time, looking at fruit and veg intake and the risk of various diseases and death.

The study showed that there is strong evidence to suggest that eating more than 5 portions of fruit and veg per day — up to 10 portions — indicated further benefits than the recommended 5-a-day, including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and death of any cause.

Eating 10 portions (800g) a day of fruit and veg indicated the biggest reduction in risk.

There is currently not much evidence available to prove whether even more than 10 portions a day would provide further health benefits, so watch this space — soon you may be recommended to eat 20 portions a day (that’s a lot of broccoli).

The amount of 5 portions in the NHS campaign was chosen because it was an achievable target for most people, whilst still providing a significant benefit. In reality, the more fruit and veg, the better!

Almost all forms of fruit and vegetables count towards your 5-a-day, so it might be easier than you think to hit that 10 portion goal. The following all count towards your 5-a-day:

  • Frozen fruit and vegetables
  • Canned fruit and vegetables
  • 30g portions of dried fruit
  • Fruit and vegetables in ready-meals
  • Pulses and beans
  • Not potatoes (sorry)

For a better idea of specific portion sizes for each of these foods, check out the NHS website.

Happy eating, and good luck trying to hit that 10 (or 20) target!


Ali Sheehan-Dare

Co-founder of Planty

Co-founder of Planty. Science lover. Tech enthusiast. Fan of plant-based food. Fascinated by how eating more plants can positively impact the world we live in.


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