Why 10-A-Day Is More Beneficial to Health and How To Eat Them
It has been a long-standing recommendation that we eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day. But recent studies have shown that eating 10 portions each day would benefit our health and wellbeing even further, with researchers having found that by doubling our intake we reduce the risk of cancer by 13%, decreasing the risk of heart disease by 24% and cutting your risk of premature death by almost a third.
The health benefits of fruit and vegetables:
- Reduce cholesterol levels
- Reduce blood pressure
- May help ward of certain cancers
- Boost blood vessels and immune system
- A reduction in DNA damage
- Protection against premature death
- Decreased risk of heart disease
As it currently stands, just 25% of UK men and 28% of UK women currently hit the UK 5-A-Day target, with the UK consumption average being just 4 portions.
Although it is clear that eating 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day will have health benefits, the study has shown that 10 portions will boost your health further and decrease your risk of chronic health conditions and premature death by an even greater degree.
So what does 10 portions of fruit and veg look like?
1 portion of fruit and veg is approximately 80g, this means that the new recommendation will be aiming at us eating 800g per day. This equates to:
2 handfuls blueberries
5 asparagus spears
3 tablespoons carrots
3 tablespoons peas
150ml unsweetened fruit juice
3 tablespoons beans (pinto, kidney, cannellini)
1 celery stick
3 tablespoons sweetcorn
This intake of fruit of vegetables may seem daunting for some, but the key is to slowly include them by making small changes, such as swapping the packet of crisps for a piece of fruit or adding extra chopped veg to your favourite evening meal.
Adding fruit and veg to your meals can be very easy, as well as beneficial to both your health and your bank balance by adding flavour, bulk and nutrients. Below are some examples of the fruits and veggies you can add to each of you meals plus some snacks to keep you going. Before you know it, you’ll have reached you 10-A-Day quota!
- Smoothie – Blueberries, bananas, raspberries, spinach, cucumber, strawberries, melon, strawberries
- Porridge topped with fruit – Banana, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, apple, pear, kiwi, plums, nectarine, pineapple
- Wholegrain toast, topped with – Avocado, hummus, tomatoes, apple with peanut butter, pear with ricotta cheese
- Salad (raw and cooked), and pitta bread/wrap fillings – Lettuce, spinach, radishes, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, spring onions, mango, rocket, olives, fennel, grapefruit, lentils, avocado, pomegranate, precooked beans (pinto, kidney, black, cannellini, lima, haricot), sweetcorn, couscous, roasted veg (cauliflower, peppers, squash, parsnips, sweet potato, asparagus, courgette, mushrooms), snow peas, cranberries, kale
- Pasta bake – Broccoli, carrots, peas, onions, peppers, tomatoes, squash, cauliflower,
- Spaghetti bolognaise & Shepherd’s pie – Courgette, mushrooms, celery, carrots, tomatoes, aubergine, leeks, cabbage, precooked beans (pinto, kidney, black, cannellini, lima, haricot), lentils, chickpeas
- Curry – Asparagus, aubergine, bok choy, tomatoes, spinach, courgette, precooked beans (pinto, kidney, black, cannellini, lima, haricot) purple sprouting broccoli, peas, parsnip, sweet potato, lentils, chickpeas
- Pizza – Pineapple, spinach, peppers, onion, shredded leeks, olives, mushrooms, tomatoes, courgette, kale, artichoke, rocket, avocado. The base can also be made using cauliflower and chickpeas if desired!
- Stew – Mushrooms, peppers, carrots, onion, parsnips, sweet potato, peas, tomatoes, courgette, celery, butternut squash, celeriac, lentils, cabbage, kale, precooked beans (pinto, kidney, black, cannellini, lima, haricot), chickpeas
- Stir fry – Peppers, broccoli, carrots, onion, bamboo shoots, beansprouts, cabbage, bok choy, spring onions, shredded Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, baby corn, spinach, mangetout, green beans, asparagus, leeks
- Fresh fruit
- Dried fruit
- Guacamole dip
- Salsa dip
- Raw veggies