Cancer prevention diet: THIS is what ONE portion of your five a day actually looks like

Cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure could all be prevented by eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables.

The NHS have long recommended people eat five portions a day for maximum health benefits.

However earlier this year it was even suggested in a study by Imperial College London that we aim for ten.

Whatever the final number, experts agree that the majority of us need to up our intake, and that we’ll be rewarded if we do.

“Fruit and vegetables are packed full of vital vitamins and minerals including folic acid, vitamin C and potassium which are important to ensure our bodies are functioning optimally and getting what they need to carry out bodily processes,” said Julian Gaine, nutritionist and creator of MealKitt (www.mealkitt.com).

“In addition, fruit and vegetable are an excellent source of dietary fibre which can help to maintain a healthy gut, preventing constipation and other digestion problems.

“A diet high in fibre can also reduce your risk of bowel cancer and a diet full of fruit and vegetables can reduce your risk of heart disease, strokes and some cancers.”

So, what exactly is a proper portion of fruit or vegetables?

“For vegetables, it is roughly the size equivalent to a medium apple,” explained Jeraldine Curran, a nutritionist (thefoodnutritionist.co.uk).

“A portion of fruit is, again, the size of a medium apple or a handful of berries.”

According to Gaine, a correct portion of some of the most common fruits and vegetables may look a little like this:

Broccoli

A big handful or 200g.

Large apple 

This counts as 1.5 to two of your five-a-day.

Spinach

A big handful or 200g.

Large banana

This counts as 1.5 to two of your five-a-day.

Carrots

A small handful or 100g.

Blackberries

A small handful or 100g.

Lettuce

The more the better since it contains virtually no calories, and takes more energy to burn than it provides.

While eating more fruits and vegetables, Gaine warned that it is possible to consume your five a day in a way that might not be so beneficial.

“Most people tend to go wrong by eating too much fruit and complex carb vegetables, like sweet potato, which contain a lot of calories and sugars and can cause weight gain,” she explained.

“High blood sugar levels which are caused by too much glucose in your blood, can also lead to diabetes.”

Curran recommended weighting your intake to more vegetables than fruit, and recommended - like the Imperial study - that we should be aiming for ten.

“While the general consensus is that we should be eating five a day I recommend that we eat ten a day with eight portions of vegetables and only 2 pieces of fruit,” she explained.

“Within the vegetables, consuming six no-starchy and two portions of starchy vegetables can help with weight loss.”



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