The positive relationship between consumption of fruit and vegetables and human health is very well established. Increasing intake of vegetables, in particular, reduces the risk of many types of cancer, partly through displacement of cancer-risk factors (e.g. meat) and maintenance of healthy weight, but also through the delivery of anti-cancer agents such as the isothiocyanates that I discussed in my Christmas blog about sprouts. In the light of these positive effects, the World Health Organization has set a minimum daily target of 400g of fruit and vegetables in the diet for all countries. In the UK, this has become the driver for the ‘5-a-day’ public health message. This sets the goal of consuming five 80g portions of fruit or vegetables, which can be in raw form, cooked from fresh, frozen or canned, and eaten either on their own, or as elements of more complex composite foods which use them as ingredients.
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