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:
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.
Dried fruit – 1 portion = 30g
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.
- 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
- 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
Check the thyme website for more information.