A well balanced and nutritional diet includes five portions (80g each) of veg and fruits combined each day. Vegetables and fruits are an excellent source of potassium, vitamin C and folate (which is a type of natural acid found in food), as well as a provider of fibre, which promotes a healthy digestive system. Research shows that a diet high in fibre concentrates can also reduce your chances of getting intestinal cancer as well as prevent other cancers, reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease.
While nearly all vegetables and fruits can count toward the recommended five portions, cassava and potatoes do not count because they are considered to be mostly starch. Tinned, fresh and frozen vegetables and fruits will count toward the daily allowance. Dried fruits such as figs, dates and currants count, as will vegetable or fruit juice – as long as it is unsweetened. Beans will also count as one portion of the daily five.
There are a number of ways to make sure that you get the recommended five 80g portions of veg and fruits a day, such as taking one glass of unsweetened fruit juice or veg blend with breakfast and having an orange before the lunch meal. Other suggestions include having an apple as an afternoon snack and adding broccoli, cauliflower and cucumber with your lunch or dinner. Frozen vegetables and fruits are yet another way to get the proper daily amount of nutrients. Modern technology for freezing actually preserves the natural nutrients found in fruits and veg.
Look for ways to increase your daily intake of veg and fruits by adding a portion to each meal. Exchanging a healthy fruit or veg for chips, a chocolate bar or fizzy drink will go a long way in increasing your intake as well as promote a healthier diet and lifestyle.