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Health And Beauty: Fruit and vegetables

Fruit and vegetables tipsYour weight
Expert advice to help you maintain a healthy weight

Dissatisfied with your weight?
We're bombarded with scare stories about weight, from size zero to the obesity 'epidemic'. But a healthy weight is determined by different factors for each of us. Our expert advice is designed to help you achieve and maintain a healthy, life-enhancing weight.

Overweight or underweight?
Being the right weight has a positive effect on wellbeing but also on our health, as being the wrong weight can cause a range of medical problems.

Fruit and vegetables are low in energy and packed with vitamins, minerals, protective plant compounds and fibre, so they're a great source of nutrients and vital for a healthy diet.

Five a day
Due to their nutritional and health benefits, it's recommended that fruit and vegetables form the basis of your diet, with a minimum intake of five portions each day - about a third of your daily food consumption. Currently the UK averages two to three portions a day, so we're falling well short of the benefits they can provide.

Fruit and vegetables should be incorporated into every meal, as well as being the first choice for a snack. Population studies have shown that people who eat a lot of fruit and vegetables may have a lower risk of chronic disease, such as heart disease and some cancers. Health benefits can be gained from fresh, tinned (in natural juice), frozen, cooked, juiced or dried versions. Potatoes don't count though, as they're a starchy food.

How much is a portion?
One piece of medium-sized fruit, such as an apple, peach, banana or orange
One slice of fruit, such as melon, mango or pineapple
One handful of grapes or two handfuls of cherries or berry fruits
One tablespoon of dried fruit
A glass (roughly 100ml) of fruit or vegetable juice
A small tin (roughly 200g) of fruit
3 tablespoons of fruit salad or stewed fruit
A side salad
A serving (roughly 80g) of vegetables, such as frozen or mushy peas, boiled carrots or stir-fried broccoli
Cooked dishes that contain significant amounts of vegetables may also count

So how do you ensure an intake of five portions a day? Here's a typical plan:

Glass of fresh orange juice or smoothie for breakfast = one portion
Small pack of dried apricots for mid-morning snack, instead of a chocolate bar or bag of crisps = 1 portion
Small pack of dried apricots for mid-morning snack = one portion
Side salad with lunch = one portion
Sugar snap peas and broccoli, served with main meal = one portion
Strawberries as dessert = one portion

Do remember that some fruits contain many of their nutrients just under the skin, so eating them with the skin on can provide greater nutritional benefits and the maximum amount of fibre compared with just drinking the juice of the same fruit.



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