Fruit and vegetables are an important part of our daily diet, providing a range of essential vitamins and minerals as well as being important sources of fibre, antioxidants and phytochemicals (natural plant nutrients). They should make up about one third of our diet, which is at least five portions each day.
The Department of Health recommends eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day as part of a healthy balanced diet.
Increasing the amount of fruit and vegetables you eat each day can make a significant contribution towards your overall health. Fruit and vegetables provide a wide range of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fibre that your body needs and are low energy density foods.
A portion equals 80g of any fruit and vegetable which also equals:
Fruit or vegetable juice only count as one portion of your five a day no matter how much you drink. This is because the natural fruit sugars are broken down by the juicing process and these can have a detrimental effect on teeth so try to drink these alongside, not between, meals. Juice also contains very little fibre. Some fruit smoothies however, can count as 2 portions of your 5 a day – look out for the labelling on pack.
Beans and other pulse vegetables such as lentils and chickpeas also only count as one portion a day.
Potatoes don't count, because they're a starchy food, but they're still important as part of a balanced diet. Sweet potatoes do count towards your 5 a day.
For further information on 5 a day and portion sizes try the Department of Health website
With the huge variety of fruit and vegetables available in the UK, it’s easy to eat a rainbow of colours – this can help to make sure you get a range of different vitamins and minerals in your diet. Have a look at our Eat the Rainbow table below to find out if you’re including enough variety each day.
|Red||Apples (red), Cranberries, Grapes (red), Dates, Cherries, Raspberries, Strawberries, Pomegranate, Radishes, Peppers (red), Tomatoes, Rhubarb|
|Orange||Oranges, Tangerines, Apricots, Cantaloupe Melon, Papaya, Mango, Peaches, Nectarine, Sweet Potatoes, Peppers (orange), Carrots, Sharon fruit, Squash|
|Yellow/White||Apricots, Lemons, Pineapple, Bananas, Grapefruit, Sweetcorn, Peppers (yellow), Yellow Tomatoes, Onions, Garlic|
|Green||Grapes (green), Apples (green), Limes, Honeydew Melon, Kiwi, Pears, Artichokes, Sprouts, Celery, Collard Greens, Lettuce, Peas, Beans, Cabbage, Peppers (green), Spinach, Spring Greens, Asparagus, Cucumber, Kale, Olives (green), Broccoli, Leek|
|Indigo||Blackberries, Olives (black), Aubergine|
|Violet||Prunes, Figs, Plums, Red Cabbage, Red Onions, Beetroot|
© 2013 Marks and Spencer plc