Five a Day is Good. Ten is Better

veggiesThe World Health Organization recommends we should eat five portions of fruit and vegetables each day, 400g.  Canadians are told to eat ten or 800g. The CDC suggests five, 400g, ( as a baseline. A portion is 80g (3oz) of fruit or vegetables, (small banana, a pear, etc.).

Pooling data from 95 separate studies, the Imperial College of London concluded that eating five-a-day could prevent 7.8 million premature deaths each year.

Eating green and yellow vegetables and from the cruciferous (e.g., cabbage and kale) family lowered the risk of cancer.

Apples, pears, citrus fruits, salads, green leafy and cruciferous vegetables were linked to lower risks of heart disease and strokes.

When compared to eating no fruit or vegetables, eating:

200g, about half of U.S. recommendations, cut cardiovascular disease by 13% while 800g cut the risk by 28%

  • 200g cut the risk of cancer by 4%, while 800g cut it by 13%
  • 200g cut the risk of premature death by 15%, while 800g cut the risk by 31%


What you may want to know about the five-a-day list.

  1. Each portion should be about 80g.
  2. Beans count, but only as one serving. They are a good source of fiber but have fewer nutrients than fruit and vegetables. Putting beans on toast or eating hummus counts.
  3. Regular potatoes do not count, too much starch. But sweet potatoes do and you can make mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes.
  4. Fruit juice counts, but never more than one portion because of its low fiber count. (Some nutritionist say fruit juice shouldn’t count at all.) Smoothies count as two portions if they contain whole fruit or vegetables and 100% juice.
  5. Dried fruits count because they have plenty of fiber. The portion size is reduced to 30g because they are high in calories.
  6. Onions count, but it’s hard to get 80g.
  7. Salad on your turkey sandwich will not be enough to add up to a serving. Eat a salad with you sandwich instead.
  8. Combine fruits and vegetables to make a single serving.
  9. The five-a-day should make up about a third of the food you eat in a day.

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