How to increase your fruit and vegetable intake

7th March 2022

There are many benefits to eating more fruit and vegetables, it is recommended that everyone increases their intake to keep us healthy.

Here we will explain why we should aim to include more fruit and vegetables every day, explain portion sizes and give some top tips to increase your intake of fruit and vegetables!

Why is this important for you?

People with CF have previously been advised to follow a high calorie, high fat diet focusing on weight gain. However, recently many patients have experienced weight gain. For people living with CF, including fruit & vegetables in the diet are now an important part of a maintaining a healthy weight.

Why eat fruit and vegetables?

Fruit and vegetables are so versatile and are packed full of important vitamins and minerals which support your health. They are low in calories and a great source of fibre, which aids digestion and could help you to maintain a healthy weight.

Studies show that people who eat enough fruit & vegetables are less likely to develop many diseases such as high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease and some cancers.

Eat the rainbow

It's important to eat a variety because different fruit and vegetables are rich in certain vitamins and minerals, for example:

  • Vitamin C: Oranges, strawberries, peppers, and kiwi are rich in vitamin C which supports healthy skin and bones and helps iron absorption.
  • Vitamin A: Rich sources of vitamin A include carrots, mango, sweet potato and spinach. Vitamin A is important for maintaining immune function and eye health.
  • Folate: Sources of folate include blackberries, strawberries, asparagus and beetroot. Folate is needed for the healthy formation of red blood cells, which carry oxygen around our bodies.
  • Vitamin K: Include plenty of dark green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach, peas and kale to help blood clotting and bone health.
  • Vitamin E: Supports your immune system and maintains healthy skin and eyes. Sources include asparagus, red pepper, avocado and mango.

How much should you eat?

5 portions a day is the recommended amount for the general population – just over a third of the food we eat each day. However, any fruit and vegetables are better than none, so to make it easier, aim to increase your intake gradually. Sources include fresh and frozen, dried and tinned.

How much is one serving?

One portion is 80 g (3 tablespoons)

More information on portion sizes can be found here

Useful links and resources

Eatwell Guide

British Dietetic Association -how to get 5 a day fruit and vegetable food fact sheet

Cystic Fibrosis Trust - Healthy Eating and Cystic Fibrosis