Healthy Eating

What Happens When I get My Five-A-Day?

Soak up the satisfaction of knowing what goes on in your body when you hit your daily fruit and veg target

Life is fruitful

“Firstly, ‘five-a-day’ is five portions of fruit and vegetables. So for example, two portions of fruit and three portions of vegetables a day,” says Sarah Khweir, spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association and registered dietitian. “One portion constitutes 80g, or three heaped tablespoons of vegetables; a small bowl of salad; two tangerines or an apple. Fruit juice counts, but try to stick to one glass per day, as too much can affect our teeth.”

Vital vitamins

“Fruit and vegetables have many essential vitamins and minerals including, but not exclusively, vitamins A, B, C, E, iron, zinc and calcium,” says Sarah. “They contain fibre which is essential for bowel health and they support the maintenance and stabilisation of your blood sugars and hunger levels. Fruit and veg also have antioxidants that protect the body from free radicals, which can damage the cells in the body and can result in diseases, such as cancer.”

An apple a day

“In a time when obesity is on the rise, fruit and vegetables are even more important as they’re also low in calories, which can help maintain a healthier weight,” says Sarah. “For every portion of fruit and vegetables eaten, there is greater protection against heart disease, strokes and cancers. Other health benefits include a slower development of cataracts and agerelated macular degeneration, reduced asthma symptoms, improved digestive health, management of diabetes and the potential for improved bone health.”

Eat the rainbow

“When you’re buying from the supermarket, opt for seasonal produce as this will taste better and is often cheaper than off-season fruits and vegetables,” Sarah advises. “Choose fruit and veg with different colours as they will have varying amounts of vitamins and minerals in them. Some easy ways to incorporate more fruit and veggies into your diet include: adding fruit to your cereal, yoghurt, or porridge for breakfast; having a glass of fruit juice or adding some salad to your sandwich, wrap or bagel for lunch. You can also try choosing more vegetables or beans, lentils and pulses in curries, stews or casseroles, and serving your dinner with a side of steamed frozen vegetables. If you have a sweet tooth, have some tinned fruit as part of a dessert. Fresh, frozen, tinned or dried fruits and veg all count toward your five-a-day.”

Health & Wellbeing