Fruit and veg: where does the number ‘5’ come from in our ‘5-a-day’?

Fruit and veg: where does the number ‘5’ come from in our ‘5-a-day’?
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We are never done hearing that we need to be eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day. Public health campaigns are ceaselessly reminding us that 5 is the magic number. But why 5? Where did they get this number from? 

Why 5, and not less?

Nutritional experts have calculated the ideal quantity of fruit and vegetables to satisfy our recommended daily intake of vitamins, minerals and fibre. The optimal is between around 700 and 800 grams per day. Given that one portion of fruit or veg is estimated at between 150 and 200 grams, depending on their size, we need to eat at least 5 portions to cover our recommended daily intake of vitamins, minerals and fibres, which is what gives rise to this recommendation.

Half of your plate

There is no need to go to the bother of weighing every piece of fruit and vegetable you eat! The solution is very simple: all your meals should be composed of 50% fruit and/or vegetables.

For example, for breakfast, drink a fruit juice with your cereal. Your lunch and dinner should contain at least 1 vegetable and 1 piece of fruit and your elevenses and three pm snacks should include at least 1 piece of fruit. In this way, you won’t be long building up to five!

Obviously, this is the minimum amount recommended, meaning you can of course eat more than 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day. For example, people who suffer from fatigue should increase their intake of fruit and vegetables that are high in vitamin C and magnesium.

Additionally, smokers or people who have other unhealthy/risky habits (drinking too much alcohol, or eating too much fat, sugar or salt) are generally in poorer health and should thus consume more fruit and vegetables to detox their bodies and to stay in good health. 

Fruit and vegetables: essential nutrients

Fruit and vegetables alike contain indispensable nutrients: vitamins (A, B, C, etc.), minerals (magneisum, calcium, phosphorous, iron, etc.), carotenoids and fibres. 

Each of these nutrients has essential and specific functions in the body and fruit and veg is very low in calories. Consumption of fruit and vegetables can contribute to fighting cell ageing and fighting against certain cancers, heart disease or osteoporosis. 

A great natural way to keep hunger at bay

Before or after a meal, or for your afternoon snack, fruit and veg (ideally raw and organic) eliminate the sensation of hunger because of the fibre they contain. What’s more, you are looking at only around 15 to 25 calories per 100 grams of vegetables, and 40 to 50 calories per 100 grams of fruit!