But eating loads of fruit and vegetables – 10 portions a day – may give us longer lives, say researchers at Imperial College London, and could prevent as many as 7.8 million deaths a year!
The results, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, also assessed the risk of dying before your time.
Compared with eating no fruit or veg a day, it showed:
But vegetables are also a secret weapon when it comes to weight loss.
Vegetables are high in fibre which fills you up.
They’re also high in water, making them bulky with not many calories, and a top source of vitamins & minerals.
It’s very hard to overeat vegetables
A portion counts as 80g (3oz) of fruit or veg – the equivalent of a small banana, a pear or three heaped teaspoons of spinach or peas.
Fruit is also great, but since it contains some natural sugars along with all the goodness, fruit isn’t great in huge quantities for most people.
And definitely opt for fresh fruit over dried or juice, since these are concentrated fruit without the water and fibre respectively.
Fruit smoothies contain the whole fruit, but since it takes more fruit to make one glass that you would eat whole, it’s pretty easy to glug 4 portions in one sitting.
But if most people don’t manage 5 portions of fruit and veg a day, how on earth are you supposed to manage 10?
The best way is to spread them out as since fruit & veg is filling, you won’t be able to eat all your portions in one sitting.
Here’s a simple plan for how to eat more vegetables and fruit in a day:
Breakfast – couple of small satsumas alongside your breakfast (1), plus spinach and berry smoothie (2)
Snack – an apple as or with a mid-morning snack (1)
Lunch – big leafy salad with extra salad vegetables (2)
Snack – carrot & cucumber sticks as/with an afternoon snack such as to dip in hummus (1)
Evening meal – 3 handfuls of mixed vegetables of your choice with your evening meal (3)