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Increasing consumption of fruit and vegetables can significantly reduce the risk of many chronic diseases. It has been reported that eating at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day could reduce the risk of deaths from diseases such as heart disease, stroke and cancer by up to 20%.

It has been estimated that diet might contribute to the development of a third of all cancers and that increasing fruit and vegetable consumption is the second most important cancer prevention strategy after reducing smoking. Research suggests that there are other health benefits too, including preventing the development of cataracts, reducing the symptoms of asthma, improving bowel function and helping to manage diabetes.

As well as the direct health benefits, eating fruit and vegetables can help to achieve other dietary goals including increasing fibre intake, reducing fat and helping to maintain a healthy weight by substituting for foods high in fat and sugar.

However, in Scotland at present only 20% of the adult population are managing to eat the recommended 5 portions per day We believe that by increasing the number of food co-ops where people can buy fresh fruit and vegetables in their community, we are making it easier for people to make changes to their diet.

Healthy Eating Information

What is a portion of fresh fruit or vegetable?

Five portions of fruit and vegetables a day are recommended. Fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruit and vegetables, all count but not potatoes. A small glass of fruit juice also counts as one portion.

Image of orange fruit juice

An average portion of fruit would include:

  • 1 slice of very large fruit, e.g. melon, pineapple, papaya;
  • avocado or grapefruit;
  • 1 large fruit, e.g. apple, pear, banana, large clementine or satsuma, orange, peach, nectarine;
  • 2 medium fruit, e.g. apricot, kiwi, plum, small clementine or tangerine;
  • 5 small fruit, e.g. damson, lychee, passion fruit;
  • 1 cupful of very small fruit, e.g. blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, grapes;
  • 2-3 tablespoons of stewed fruit, canned fruit or fruit salad;
  • 1 tablespoon of dried fruit, e.g. raisins, apricots, dates, figs;
  • 1 glass of fruit juice (150 ml).

An average portion of vegetables would include:

  • 2 tablespoons of green vegetables, e.g. broccoli, broad beans, courgettes, cauliflower, spinach, leek, cabbage;
  • 2 tablespoons of root vegetables, e.g. carrots, parsnips, swede, turnip;
  • 2 tablespoons of very small vegetables, e.g. peas, sweetcorn, ratatouille;
  • 2 tablespoons of other vegetables e.g. aubergine, marrow, mushrooms, onion, canned tomatoes;
  • 1 bowlful of salad, e.g. cherry tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, cucumber, beetroot, beansprouts.

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