A study involving nearly 2 million people from 29 countries found that eating two portions of citrus fruit and berries and three helpings of leafy green and orange veg a day represents the optimal ‘5-a-day’ diet – with a portion generally weighing in at around 80 grams.
It also found that eating more than five portions a day continues to benefit your health but it’s very much a case of diminishing returns.
Researchers have found that there should be slightly more of an emphasis on veg than fruit – making up 60 per cent and 40 per cent of the ideal daily intake a piece.
Green leafy vegetables, including spinach, lettuce and kale, and fruit and vegetables rich in beta carotene and vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, berries and carrots, were very healthy.
“While health experts recommend four to five servings each of fruits and vegetables daily, consumers often get inconsistent messages about what defines optimal daily intake of fruits and vegetables such as the recommended amount, and which foods to include and avoid,” said Dong D. Wang of Harvard Medical School.
“We found that not all fruits and vegetables offer the same degree of benefit, even though current dietary recommendations generally treat all types of fruits and vegetables the same,” he said.
The study also found that people eating five portions of fruit and veg a day, of all kinds, had a 13 per cent lower risk of death from any cause than those who had two portions.
They also had a 12 per cent lower risk of dying from heart disease and stroke, a 10 per cent lower risk from cancer and a 35 per cent lower risk of dying from respiratory diseases, such as chronic pulmonary disease (COPD).