Sunday, April 11, 2010

How Many Fruits and Vegetables a Day are Recommended?

My question is, when people say to get 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, does this mean 5 of each, or 5 total?  Thanks! Donna S.

Dear Donna,

Depending on the trusted source, the number of servings can be phrased differently.  The minimum should be a total of 5 servings, but some health agencies are pushing for 9-12 servings total.
The food guide pyramid recommends 2 cups of fruit and 2-3 cups of veggies for adults. "More Matters", a website promoting the health benefits of fruits and vegetables, agrees.
From Healthy People 2010, a summary of government sponsored health goals, "The CDC hopes that at least 75% of people aged 2 years or older will consume at least two daily servings of fruit and at least three daily servings of vegetables, and at least one-third of these servings will be dark green or orange vegetables".

That said, a recommendation of 9 to 12 servings could be referring to 1/2-cup servings, which would be the same as 2 cups of fruit and 3 cups of vegetables!

The benefits? Fruits and vegetables are usually a low-calorie concentrated source of vitamins (especially A and C), minerals (especially potassium) and fiber. Filling up on these nutritious foods means less chance other low-nutrient dense--and often high-calorie--foods will be consumed in significant amounts.

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