11 October 2019
Many of us would have heard about the importance of eating fruits and vegetables, but what you may not know is the impact they can have on reducing your risk of cancer.
Fruits and vegetables naturally contain an array of nutrients, including antioxidants, that can be protective against cancer—particularly cancer of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, stomach, bowel and potentially even lung cancer.
These natural goodies also play an important role in weight management. By being low in fat and kilojoules—and high in fibre to keep you feeling fuller for longer—they can help you maintain a healthy weight, further reducing your cancer risk.
So, that being said, how do you know how much you need?
You may have heard the slogan “go for 2 & 5”. Consuming two servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables daily is the general guide, but it’s not always easy to achieve.
Statistics from 2017-18 show that 48.2 per cent of South Australian adults met the guidelines for two or more serves of fruit per day, while only 6.7 per cent met the guidelines for daily serves of vegetables. What’s concerning is only 4.6 per cent of adults and 3.7 per cent of children met both guidelines for recommended daily serves of both fruit and vegetables.
What does a serving look like?
To help you reach the daily recommendation for fruit and vegetable intake, it can be helpful to know what one serving looks like for different fruits and vegetables.
- A serve of vegetables = ½ cup cooked green or orange vegetables (such as: broccoli, spinach, carrots or pumpkin); 1 cup of leafy or raw salad vegetables; ½ cup dried or canned beans, lentils, peas or sweetcorn; ½ medium potato or other starchy vegetable; 1 medium tomato.
- A serve of fruit = 1 medium apple, banana, orange or pear; 2 small apricots, kiwi fruits or plums; 1 cup diced or canned fruit (in fruit juice, no added sugar).
At Cancer Council SA we encourage you to eat a variety of different coloured fruit and vegetables every day. Fresh, frozen, dried or canned fruit and vegetables can all be chosen as part of a healthy diet.
How can you boost your fruit and vegetable intake?
- Leftovers are a great way to pack some vegetables into your day—chicken and vegetable stir-fry’s or quinoa salads make a great lunchtime meal.
- It’s easy to grab a piece of fruit as a snack, but vegetable snacks take a little more preparation—but are worth it. If you don’t have time in the morning, take a carrot and cucumber with you and cut it up at work. Add some hummus for a well-rounded snack.
- Top your breakfast with fruit. Why not try top your cereal or porridge with whatever fruit you have on hand—banana, pear or strawberries are often favourites. You can even choose frozen fruit or tinned fruit in natural juice if you wish.
- Fill half your dinner plate with salad or vegetables and complete your meal with ¼ plate each of carbohydrates like pasta or potatoes and protein like fish or chicken.
Looking for some inspiration? Why not try one of our delicious and nutritious recipes?
There are some great recipes full of fruits and vegetables to serve up at your next event—including National Patio Day! Not registered? It’s not too late. Find out more.