Nutrition

What is a serving of fruit or vegetables?

One of the most clear recommendations on healthy eating is the inclusion of 5 servings a day between fruits and vegetables.

nutrition fruits and vegetables
fruits and vegetables

No, it is not about becoming a vegetarian. Or if. At the end of the day, this would be a personal choice, perfectly valid if, regardless of trends, you know what is being done. But the fact is that most of the main consensus when describing the characteristics of a healthy diet, focus the bulk of their message on the inclusion, at least, of 5 servings a day of food of fresh plant origin, and fruits. You may think that consensus is a tool that provides little scientific evidence, and you would be right. So the first thing we are going to do is check if there is a sufficient body of evidence to make this kind of recommendation.

Is there a relationship between plant consumption, health and mortality?

Fortunately, to take care of this task we can take advantage of the magnificent post that Luis Jiménez published a short time ago, in which he devoted himself to reviewing what science says about the benefits of including more or less daily rations of this type of food on our tables. The article that you have at your disposal at this link to consult it in great detail, brings together the reviews and meta-analyzes that have been published in this regard in recent years. Thus, studies have been carried out that have observed the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed in specific populations and the incidence in them of the most relevant non-communicable diseases in our environment, such as strokes, coronary heart disease, cancer, diabetes and of course total mortality. The information is considerable and but the conclusions always “row” in the same direction. The summary can be found in the conclusion of one of the most recent meta-analyzes: “fruit and vegetable intakes were associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and all-cause mortality. These results support public health recommendations for increased fruit and vegetable intake for cardiovascular disease, cancer and premature mortality. ” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5837313/

What is a serving of fruits and vegetables?

serving of fruits and vegetables
serving of fruits and vegetables

At this point, it is normal for doubts to come up when weighing a portion of these foods. And there is still no consensus between the different health administrations and institutions that advocate increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables. That is, there is no agreement when deciding what a serving is or how many grams of these foods a day we must incorporate. Without going any further, we have the WHO data that figures this amount at 400 grams, but on the other hand we have the Association for the Promotion of the Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables, better known as “5 a day”, which considers that “five ”Is the right number… we just need to know what a portion is.

Practical issues

My advice is that you do not get overwhelmed with the issue of weights (I do not weigh neither the apples, nor the asparagus, nor the aubergines … or anything) and focus on putting more food of fresh vegetable origin in your day to day. After all, and as the highly recommended Gemma del Caño says: a serving of fruits and vegetables is, simply, the first step to reach five daily.
It is necessary to include a portion of vegetables in the two main intakes (lunch and dinner) and, at the same time, include the fruit as a dessert in these same doses.

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