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How fruits and vegetables help to lower your blood pressure
Fruit and vegetables are a good natural source of potassium, which has the opposite effect to salt and will help to lower your blood pressure.
The vitamins, minerals and fibre that fruit and vegetables provide can help to lower your risk of serious health problems like heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
They increase your energy levels, improve your bowel function and enable your body to deal with stress.
Fruit and vegetables are important for everyone - not just adults but children too. Our likes and dislikes of foods are formed in the first few years of life, so it's important to give children lots of fruit and vegetables to try. It will help them develop a taste for them, meaning they will be more likely to eat fruit and vegetables as teenagers and adults.
It is important to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
How much is a portion?
A portion is 80g of fresh, frozen, raw or canned fruit or vegetables (not including any peel, skin or parts that you don't eat).
Here are some examples:
- 1 medium fruit e.g. banana, papaya
- ½ large fruit e.g mango
- 2 small fruits e.g. plums, satsumas
- A handful of grapes
- 3 tablespoons of vegetables e.g. carrots, cabbage, okra or pulses (e.g. chick peas, lentils, beans)
- 1 medium onion
- 1 heaped tablespoon of dried fruit
- 1 dessert bowl of mixed salad
- 1 glass (150ml) of fruit or vegetable juice
- 1 glass (150ml) of pure fruit juice
How much fruit and vegetables should I be eating?
Aim to eat at least 'five each day'.
Potatoes, cassava, sweet potatoes, yams and plantain are types of vegetable but they do not count towards 'five each day'. Instead they are classed as 'starchy foods' which should still be included as part of a healthy diet.
Pulses, fruit and vegetable juice count towards 'five each day' but you can only include one portion of juice and one portion of pulses per day, no matter how much you drink or eat.