What’s a portion of fruit or veg?
With a recent study on how much fruit or veg we should be eating daily revealing that 10 portions a day is best for our overall health, it had us thinking about what a portion of fruit or veg actually is.
Most studies and guidelines state that 1 portion equates to 80g of fruit or veg. Again, what exactly does that mean in real terms?
Well, according to the British Dietary Association, one 80g portion can be found in the following:
– One banana, apple, pear, orange, or similar sized fruit
– Half an avocado or large grapefruit
– A slice of large fruit such as pineapple or melon
– Two satsumas, plums or similar sized fruit
– A handful of grapes, berries, or cherries
– One heaped tablespoon of dried fruit such as raisins or apricots, or three heaped tablespoons of fruit salad (fresh or tinned) or stewed fruits
– *150ml of fruit juice (about half a normal tumbler sized glass)
– Three heaped tablespoons of vegetables (raw, cooked, frozen, or tinned)
– *Three heaped tablespoons of any ‘pulse’ such as beans, peas, or lentils
– One dessert bowl of salad
*No matter how much fruit juice or lentils you consume above the stated portion size, it will only count as one portion.
Why increase fruit and veg intake?
There is a strong link between fruit and veg intake and reduction in cardiovascular disease including coronary heart disease and stroke, as well as some cancers.
The current UK guidelines recommend consuming at least 5 portions of fruit and veg a day to significantly reduce our risk of the above.
The recent study found an intake of 10 portions a day resulted in even greater reductions of risk (up to 28% reduction in cardiovascular disease).
However the results showed that even if you can increase your daily intake from hardly any intake to 2-3 portions over the day, this will still lead to some health benefits and risk reductions (up to 16% reduction in heart disease risk).
Top tips for increasing your fruit and veg intake:
– Choose in-season produce to get the freshest, tastiest, and value-for-money options
– Eat the rainbow: try a whole range of different colours throughout the day and week to gain the best mix of vitamins and minerals available – apples, pears, citrus fruits, green leafy veg and cruciferous vegetables are among some of the foods identified as being very beneficial
– Swap or add one extra piece of ‘colour’ to your current breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options
– Cut back on your portions of meat or starchy veg and replace with an extra handful of veg or lentils to bulk up your meal