The Shocking Truth about your 5-a-Day!

It’s been reported that at least 33,000 lives could be saved each year if the nation ate more healthily and that eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day would by itself prevent 15,000 early deaths, including 7,000 from coronary heart disease, almost 5,000 from cancer and more than 3,000 from stroke. *

There are significant health benefits to getting at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. (A portion of fruit or vegetables is 80g). That’s nothing new to most of us! So why don’t we all do it then?


Just 28% of adults are eating the recommended five portions and the average is 3.7 portions per day. Fewer men than women meet the five-a-day guideline, and young people aged 16 to 24 are also less likely than other adults to get their five-a-day. In 2018, 18% of children aged 5 to 15 ate five standard portions of fruit and vegetables per day, and many were less than 2 a day.

So, despite the significant evidence and awareness of how much fruit and veg we should all be getting, most of us are not managing this. Research shows that:

  • People struggle to find exciting ways to cook vegetables
  • They don’t knowing how to cook vegetables properly
  • Vegetables have a short shelf life and go rotten quickly
  • People have childhood traumas and bad memories of school dinners
  • Londoners blame their long journey times for not allowing them time to cook in the evening.


Overcoming The Problems

These reasons are fair, of course, but let’s look at ways to overcome them. For example, you can buy frozen vegetables to use towards the end of the week once you fresh ones are used or rotten. You can also buy quick microwaveable veg bags that save you time and do the cooking for you in a matter of minutes. Plus, you can also use salad and fruit to help you to get in your 5-a-day too. Remember, it can be fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced and still count.

5 Reasons to Get Your 5-A-Day:

  1. Fruit and vegetables are a great source of vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamin C and potassium.
  2. They're an excellent source of dietary fibre, which can help to maintain a healthy gut and prevent constipation and other digestion problems. A diet high in fibre can also reduce your risk of bowel cancer.
  3. They can help to reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer.
  4. Fruit and vegetables contribute to a healthy, balanced diet and help you to maintain a healthy weight
  5. They not only look after you on the inside. They help you to have glowing and healthy skin, hair, eyes and nails too.

So, let’s see if you can get a varied mixture of at least 5 fruit and vegetables into your diet each day and start reaping the rewards. For inspiration on getting more veg into your breakfast, lunch and dinner, go to the NHS 5 A Day tips for tasty recipe ideas.

MORE Recipe Ideas:


How much do I need and what counts?

*The study was carried out by researchers from the University of Oxford. Funding was provided by the British Heart Foundation and the National Heart Forum. It was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

**A recent survey commissioned by Birds Eye polled 1,000 British people about their attitudes and habits around the consumption of vegetables

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