Vegetables, fruit and legumes
We know that vegetables, legumes (eg. lentils and soybeans) and fruits are protective against some cancers. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre and contain anti-oxidants, natural chemicals that can destroy cancer-causing agents (carcinogens). Cancer Council recommends you eat a variety of vegetables and fruits every day including green leafy vegetables, red, yellow and orange vegetables.
Vegetables from the cabbage family (known as cruciferous vegetables) such as broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts and the onion family such as leeks and chives are also good choices.
Eating a variety of fruit is also recommended including red, yellow and orange fruits, citrus fruits and berries.
There are many good reasons to choose seasonal produce. Seasonal vegetables and fruit are at their peak and are nutritious, full of flavour and economical.
Eat more vegetables, fruit and legumes
Eat at least two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables each day for good health and to reduce cancer risk.
What is a serve?
One serve is:
- ½ cup cooked vegetables
- 1 cup of lettuce or salad vegetables
- ½ cup legumes e.g. soy beans, lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans
- 1 medium sized piece of fruit e.g. apple, pear, orange, banana
- 2 small pieces of fruit e.g. apricots, plums, kiwifruit
- 1 cup fruit salad or canned fruit pieces.
Tips for increasing daily vegetable, fruit and legume intake:
- Double your serving of vegetables.
- Try a new fruit each week.
- Have frozen or canned fruit (no added sugar), vegetables and legumes on hand for convenience and variety.
- Add fresh or canned fruit as a breakfast cereal topping.
- Include vegies with your lunch.
- Add extra vegies to all your recipes e.g, add carrot, celery and peas to bolognese sauce or chickpeas to a curry.
- Fill half your dinner plate with vegetables.
- Include at least three different coloured vegetables with your main meal.
- Have a meat-free meal once a week.
- For variety, cook vegetables in different ways such as oven roasted, pan-fried with a light spray of olive oil or grilled.
- Have fruit instead of sweets.
- Enjoy fruit as a snack or as a dessert.
Learn more about reducing your cancer risk with diet and exercise