At least 5 a day
Following a recommendation by the World Health Organisation that individuals consume “a minimum of 400g of fruit and vegetables per day (excluding potatoes and other starchy tubers)”, the current UK advice is to try to consume ‘at least 5 A Day’ meaning 5 portions of combined fruit and vegetables daily.
The decision to divide the 400g recommendation into a more consumer-friendly message of five 80g portions was part of a pragmatic approach taken by the UK government to encourage the consumption of a variety of fruits and vegetables throughout the day. Although recommendations for fruits and vegetables vary from one country to the next, there is no robust evidence to suggest the consumption of a specific ratio of fruits to vegetables has more benefit than consuming at least 5 portions of a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. Emphasis is placed on individuals consuming at least 5 A Day, however, the latest National Diet and Nutrition Survey (years 5 and 6 combined) reports that only 27% of adults aged 19-64 years are meeting the 5 A Day recommendation. The researchers found that eating fruit and vegetables was associated with a lower risk of death from any cause, looking especially at deaths as a result of cardiovascular disease and cancer. The higher a person’s intake of fruit and vegetables, the greater the protective effects seemed to be. People who ate seven or more portions a day had a 33% reduced risk of death compared with people who ate less than one portion. This figure can only increase if we eat more! Nutritional Therapists recommend up to nine portions daily.