Fruit and vegetables should be an important part of your daily diet. They are naturally good and contain vitamins and minerals that can help to keep you healthy. They can also help protect against some diseases.
You should eat at least five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit each day. Choose different colors and varieties.
Fruits and vegetables are low in fat, salt and sugar. They are a good source of dietary fibre. As part of a well-balanced, regular diet and a healthy, active lifestyle, a high intake of fruit and vegetables can help you to:
- Reduce obesity and maintain a healthy weight
- Lower your cholesterol
- Lower your blood pressure.
Vegetables and fruit contain phytochemicals, or plant chemicals. These biologically active substances can help to protect you from some diseases. Scientific research shows that if you regularly eat lots of fruit and vegetables, you have a lower risk of:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart (cardiovascular) disease – when fruits and vegetables are eaten as food, not taken as supplements
- Cancer – some forms of cancer, later in life
- High blood pressure (hypertension).
Fruit is the sweet, fleshy, edible part of a plant. It generally contains seeds. Fruits are usually eaten raw, although some varieties can be cooked. They come in a wide variety of colours, shapes and flavours. Common types of fruits that are readily available include:
- Apples and pears
- Citrus – oranges, grapefruits, mandarins and limes
- Stone fruit – nectarines, apricots, peaches and plums
- Tropical and exotic – bananas and mangoes
- Berries – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, kiwifruit and passionfruit
- Melons – watermelons, rockmelons and honeydew melons
- Tomatoes and avocados.
Vegetables are available in many varieties and can be classified into biological groups or ‘families’, including:
- Leafy green – lettuce, spinach and silverbeet
- Cruciferous – cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and broccoli
- Marrow – pumpkin, cucumber and zucchini
- Root – potato, sweet potato and yam
- Edible plant stem – celery and asparagus
- Allium – onion, garlic and shallot.