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Fruit & Veg: how achievable is 7-a-day?

Published: 25 Apr 2014

We've all heard about five-a-day when it comes to eating the right amount of fruit and vegetables. However, new research has suggested that this number should now be increased to seven.

The original advice - issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) - is now being questioned by experts who believe that consuming two more portions per 24-hour period could be much more beneficial.

According to a study carried out by The University College London, the risk of death was reduced by up to 42 per cent for those who ate between seven and ten items on a daily basis. Similarly, it was linked to a 25 per cent lower chance of developing cancer, while heart disease and stroke were 31 per cent less likely to occur.

Other lifestyle factors – for example whether or not people smoked or drank alcohol to excess - also played their part in the data that was analysed by the scientists, although, they claim to have tried to account for this in their overall findings.

In total, information from over 65,000 people across a period of eight years was studied - after being gathered by the Health Survey for England - to compile the report.

Advice for clients

But how achievable is this new target? The WHO previously suggested canned fruit and juices could count towards the five - however, the new study revealed it believed the latter to have no benefit and the former to actually potentially cause damage as a result of the sugary syrups they often contain.

While it may seem like a daunting task, with summer just around the corner, there are plenty of ways for your clients to incorporate seven portions into their diet. Salads are an attractive option and can go some way towards achieving this aim, while also ensuring that no two meals are the same by including different fruit and veg like peppers, carrots, sweetcorn and pineapple.

Beans and pulses are another useful means of assimilating nutrients that can be beneficial to the body, as they can also help to lower blood levels and cholesterol.

Similarly, mushrooms, which can be eaten as part of a healthy breakfast, as well as in soups and other meals, are known to improve the functioning of the immune system and add vitamin D to a person's diet.

The inclusion of fruit and vegetables in a balanced diet is an integral part to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. With MyHealthCounts, our online health and wellbeing tool, as part of our 12-week health programmes, your clients can be provided with healthy eating guidelines to help them understand more about the foods (and drinks) they consume every day.


MyHealthCounts is available to Healthier Solutions customers to gain an insight into their current state of health and the impact their lifestyle has on it.

By taking between ten to 15 minutes to fill-out a questionnaire to establish their health choices, MyHealthCounts users will be provided with personalised advice on how to manage their wellbeing as part of a 12-week health programme. This includes everything from advising on what constitutes an effective diet to the benefits of vitamin supplements and other tips like how much water they should be drinking each day.

Additionally, those who update their information between months six and nine of their policy year will qualify for up to a 15 per cent discount off their renewal premium.

For more information on MyHealthCounts and the benefits of your clients taking part, speak to your usual Aviva consultant, or visit our MyHealthCounts page on HealthcareZone.

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