For years we have had it drummed into us that we should be eating five items of fresh fruit and vegetables per day in order to keep us healthy, but now it seems this is no longer the case.
Our recommended target of five a day has now been increased to seven per day according to an ongoing study which has been released by the UCL (University College London). The study suggests that by increasing the amount of fresh fruit and veg in our diets to seven, we can increase our chances of fighting off many of life's killer diseases, such as cancer, heart disease and strokes.
The data was collected over a period of eight years through the Health Survey for England from which they obtained information on the eating habits of 65,226 adults.
Their findings suggest that by eating seven items of fresh fruit and vegetables per day we can:-
- Reduce our risk of death by 42%
- Lower the risk of cancer by 25%
- Decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke by 31%
Over the years we have been encouraged to also eat tinned fruit, but researchers have now stated that this is no longer the case and is because many tinned fruit products are preserved in sugary syrups which our bodies are unable to differentiate from refined sugar. All in all, fresh vegetables are four times more beneficial to us than fruit due to their high fructose content.
The report also indicated that dried fruit and salad were also beneficial to our overall health and nutrition and should also be consumed on a regular basis as part of a balanced diet.
It is worth noting that the original five a day was only recommended as the absolute minimum by the World Health Organisation and that these latest findings are more of an indication as to the real levels we should be obtaining.
It is thought that just 30% of people currently eat the WHO recommendation of five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day. Clearly, these people have their work cut out in order to reach the new recommendations from UCL!
Further information on this study can be found via the NHS website at