Do you need to boost your fruit and veg intake?

Seven daily serves of fruit and vegetables may be considered ideal, but new guidelines suggest 10 is actually the magic number.

Australian healthy eating guidelines recommend eating five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit every day.

But would eating more fruits and veggies give your health an even bigger boost?

Scientists at Imperial College London found we need to eat 800g or more to get the biggest health kick – the equivalent of about 10 serves a day.

Adding up the benefits of eating more fruit and vegetables

Eating 10 serves a day means a 24 per cent reduced risk of heart disease, a 33 per cent reduced risk of stroke, a 28 per cent lower risk of cardiovascular disease, a 13 per cent lower risk of cancer and a 31 per cent reduction in dying prematurely, say researchers.

“Our results suggest that five portions of fruit and vegetables is good – 10 a day is even better,” says Dr Dagfinn Aune, from Imperial College’s School of Public Health.

Dietitians Australia spokesman Joel Feren says fruit and vegetables are the cornerstone of any good diet.

“They’re chock a block with vitamins and minerals that protect our bodies and provide fibre for good bowel health,” says Joel, of The Nutrition Guy.

“But Aussies drop the ball when it comes to meeting our fruit and vegetable targets. Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show only 7.5 per cent of us meet our recommended serves of veggies each day and only half of us meet our recommended serves of fruit.”

How to eat 10 serves of fruit and vegetables a day

A serve might be a small banana, apple, or pear or three heaped tablespoons of cooked vegetables such as spinach, peas, broccoli or cauliflower.

The UK researchers found apples, pears, citrus fruits, salads, spinach, lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, green beans, peppers and carrots were all particularly good for health.

Joel shares some tips on how to eat more fruits and vegetables throughout the day:


  • Top cereal with fresh or frozen berries.
  • Add strawberries to toast with goat’s cheese.
  • Make a smoothie with banana, milk, yoghurt and a drizzle of honey.
  • Match eggs on toast with sauteed mushrooms and oven-roasted tomato.
  • Bake eggs in a tomato base with wilted spinach.
  • Add kale or spinach to smoothies.
  • Toast sweet potato and load it with feta, rocket and cherry tomatoes.


  • Add fruit to a salad – try a strawberry and haloumi salad.
  • Fill a sandwich with colourful veggies.
  • Add roasted vegetables to a hot lunch.
  • Eat last night’s leftovers with a side salad.
  • Add vegetables or beans to your pasta.
  • Munch on some edamame beans with sushi.
  • Include grated veggies in rice paper rolls.


  • Make coleslaw and add some pear.
  • Grill pineapple on the barbecue.
  • Add pomegranate seeds to quinoa salad.
  • Add mango to a curry.
  • Fill half your dinner plate with salad or roasted vegetables.

Snacks and school lunchboxes

  • Make your own trail mix with almonds, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried fruit and chopped dark chocolate.
  • Have chopped fruit with yoghurt.
  • Put your favourite fresh fruit on a skewer.
  • Enjoy hummus with carrot sticks.
  • Munch on celery sticks with peanut butter.
  • Make a frittata with zucchini, capsicum or tomato.

Written by Sarah Marinos.