Fruit and vegetables confer numerous health benefits, not least because they are jam-packed with fibre, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.he The famous “5 A Day” campaign advises eating at least a mixture of five portions of fruit and veg to reap the benefits. It’s based on the World Health Organization (WHO)’s recommendations that eating a minimum of 400g of fruit and vegetables a day can lower the risk of serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer.
Those who consumed the optimal amount reduced their risk of death from all causes by 13 per cent, heart disease and stroke by 12 per cent, cancer by 10 per cent, and respiratory disease by a whopping 35 per cent, compared to those who only managed two servings each day, the data revealed.
However, not all fruits and veggies conferred the same longevity benefits.
Starchy vegetables like peas, corn and potatoes weren’t associated with a reduced risk of death.
Other key dietary tips
Getting your five servings of fruit and veg a day should be part of a healthy, balanced diet.
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The Eatwell Guide shows that to have a healthy, balanced diet, people should try to:
Base meals on higher fibre starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice or pasta
Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks)
Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other protein
Choose unsaturated oils and spreads, and eat them in small amounts
Drink plenty of fluids (at least six to eight glasses a day).
“If you’re having foods and drinks that are high in fat, salt and sugar, have these less often and in small amounts,” advises the NHS.
According to the health body, most people in the UK eat and drink too many calories, too much saturated fat, sugar and salt, and not enough fruit, vegetables, oily fish or fibre.
Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases your risk of developing heart disease.
The Mediterranean-style diet is high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil.
It usually includes a low intake of meat and dairy foods.
Protein sources come primarily from fish and plants, with smaller amounts from lean poultry and red meat.
Moderate amounts of cheese and yogurt are also often included in the diet.
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