Fruit and vegetables are part of a healthy, balanced diet and can help us stay healthy. It's important that we eat enough of them.
Evidence shows there are significant health benefits to getting at least five 80g portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. That's five portions of fruit and veg in total, not five portions of each.
The 5 A Day campaign is based on advice from the World Health Organization, which recommends eating a minimum of 400g of fruit and vegetables a day to lower the risk of serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
Five reasons to eat five portions of fruit and veg
- Fruit and vegetables are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamin C and potassium.
- They're an excellent source of dietary fibre, which can help to maintain a healthy gut and prevent constipation and other digestion problems. A diet high in fibre can also reduce your risk of bowel cancer.
- They can help to reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
- Fruit and vegetables contribute to a healthy, balanced diet.
- Fruit and vegetables taste delicious and there's so much variety to choose from.
Fruit and vegetables are also usually low in fat and calories (provided you don't fry them or roast them in lots of oil). That's why eating them can help you maintain a healthy weight and keep your heart healthy.
To get the most out of your 5 A Day, your five portions should include a variety of fruit and vegetables. This is because different fruits and vegetables contain different combinations of fibre, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
Almost all fruit and vegetables count towards your 5 A Day. They can be fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced. Potatoes, yams and cassava don't count, because they mainly contribute starch to the diet.
How to get your 5 A Day
- To learn more about what counts towards your 5 A Day, go to 5 A Day: what counts? and 5 A Day: portion sizes.
- For inspiration on fitting 5 A Day into your breakfast, lunch and dinner, go to 5 A Day tips.
- For ways to get cheaper fruit and veg, visit 5 A Day on a budget.
- Fussy eaters to feed? Get help from 5 A Day and your family.
- Green-fingered chefs might be interested in tips for growing your own fruit and vegetables.
- You can also learn more by downloading this Just Eat More 5 A Day leaflet (PDF, 342kb).
Got a question about 5 A Day?
Article provided by NHS Choices