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5 a day: What counts?

5 a day. Or is it 7 or even 10 a day? What counts, how much should we be eating (not to mention how much ARE we eating)? And why do we need to eat fruit and veg?

What’s so good about fruit and vegetables?

People who eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day are at lower risk of atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease and some types of cancer. This is for some of the following reasons:

 

  • A diet that includes lots of fruit and vegetables tends to contain less of the bad stuff like fat, saturates and sugar (unless you cover your veg in butter and your fruit in chocolate!)
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  • Fruit and veg also provide a good source of fibre which helps with bowel function.
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    The fibre and some of the starch in fruit and veg can be fermented by our gut bacteria to generate products that both fuel the cells of the intestine and potentially protect against colorectal cancer.

     

    Fruit and veg also provide a variety of vitamins and minerals, which is why it’s important to eat a rainbow of different colours. Potassium is found in a number of fruits and vegetables, all of which are low in sodium so eating plenty can help to maintain normal blood pressure.

    Check out the bottom of this article to find out which smoothie sachets provide which nutrients! 

    Is 5 a day enough?

    The World Health Organisation recommends eating at least 400g of fruit and veg a day. The UK Government therefore recommends eating 5 80g portions of fruit and veg. But governments around the world all make different recommendations. For example, Canada recommends 7-8 portions a day for women and 8-10 for men, while Austria recommends 5 a day but a portion is up to 300g of cooked vegetables – that’s potentially 1.5kg a day!

    The bottom line is, 400g or 5 portions is a minimum and is based upon a comprehensive review of the evidence. We should aim to eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruits and vegetables each day.

    How much fruit and veg do we eat?

    The latest UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey revealed that only 27% of adults and 8% of children aged 11-18 eat their 5 a day (NDNS, 2016). In light of these statistics, it’s important to avoid setting unrealistic targets, so while some new evidence may suggest a need to eat 7 or more portions of fruit and veg a day, from a public health perspective, the 5 a day message should prevail.

    What counts?

     

  • All fresh, frozen and canned fruit and veg (although it’s best to choose options that have no added sugar, salt or syrup) – 1 portion = 80g
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  • Note that frozen fruit and veg count towards your 5 a day and are a great way to avoid waste and preserve nutrients. One thyme's nutriburst sachets provides 120g, which is one and a half portions. Plus you get a huge variety of fruits and veg so you really can eat a rainbow.
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    Dried fruit – 1 portion = 30g

     

  • Fruit juice (freshly squeezed or from concentrate) – 1 portion = 150ml but juice can only contribute 1 portion a day owing to the lack of fibre.  Smoothies differ from juices in that they preserve much of the fibre of the fresh fruit and vegetables
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  • Pulses such as beans and lentils – 1 portion = 80g but pulses can only contribute 1 portion a day as they are less nutritious than fruit and veg (although they do provide fibre and protein)
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  • Potatoes (and yam, cassava and plantain) DON’T count towards your 5 a day as they’re classed as a starchy food (though they are still a good source of vitamin C and fibre)
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    What’s a portion in real terms?

    It’s not realistic to weigh out all your food, so here’s a quick guide on what makes a portion.

    Fruit

    • HALF an avocado, grapefruit, pepper
    • ONE banana, pear, apple or orange
    • TWO satsumas, plums or apricots
    • A HANDFUL of grapes, berries or cherries
    • A SLICE of melon, papaya or pineapple
    • A TABLESPOONFUL of dried fruit

    Veg

    • TWO broccoli or cauliflower florets
    • THREE HEAPED TABLESPOONS of cooked veg or pulses
    • THREE celery sticks
    • 5cm chunk of cucumber 
    • ONE tomato or SEVEN cherry tomatoes
    • A DESSERT BOWL of salad

    At 120g, one of our smoothie sachets contains one and a half portions of your 5 a day and so much more:

     

  • Vitamin C, which helps support skin, bones and teeth, is found in most of our smoothie sachets: Pump Up the Beet, Energy Currant, Copacabana, Get up and Go Go, Green Defender, Banana Armour, Share Your Passion, For Beauty's Shake, Absofruitly, All Hail Kale, Ah-say-ee and Purple Rain

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  • Folate (a B-vitamin), which helps combat tiredness and fatigue, is found in: Pump Up the Beet, Get up and Go Go, Banana Armour, Shake Your Beauty and All Hail Kale
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  • Potassium, which helps support muscle function, Is found in: Pump Up the Beet, Get up and Go Go and All Hail Kale
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  • Vitamin A, which helps support skin health, is found in: Get up and Go Go, Shake Your Beauty and All Hail Kale
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    Check the thyme website for more information.

    Claire Baseley

    Registered Nutritionist


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    Received our first smoothie trial box yesterday (really speedy delivery and friendly courier). The kids couldn't wait to get started!

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