Enjoy more grains, veg, fruit and beans
Eat a wide variety of wholegrains, vegetables, fruits and pulses such as beans.
Basing your diet on plant foods is a great first step to eating well and reducing your cancer risk. Research shows that eating plenty of wholegrains and consuming a diet rich in fibre decreases the risk of bowel cancer. This may be because fibre helps to move food more quickly through the bowel as well as preventing insulin resistance.
Eating plenty of vegetables and fruit probably reduces your risk of a number of different types of cancer, including mouth and throat, and lung. Vegetables and fruit provide vitamins, minerals and other substances known as phytochemicals which help protect cells in the body from damage that may lead to cancer. Different types of vegetables and fruit contain different phytochemicals, so it's best to eat a variety every day.
Eating a diet rich in wholegrains, vegetables, fruit and pulses can also help you stay a healthy weight, which is linked with a reduced risk of 11 cancers, making it one of the most important ways to reduce your cancer risk.
Tips for eating more plant foods
Eat a good variety of plant-based foods such as:
- Fresh, frozen and dried vegetables and fruit plus varieties that are canned in water or natural juices. All count towards your 5 A DAY.
- Pulses such as lentils, peas and beans. All count towards your 5 A DAY.
- Grains and cereals such as rice, oats, pasta, bread, cous cous and unsweetened breakfast cereals. Opt for wholegrain varieties, and limit highly processed foods, such as cakes and pastries.
- Root vegetables such as swede, celeriac, new potatoes and sweet potatoes. Try to not add fat, such as butter or cream, and opt for boiled or steamed rather than roasted or fried in oil.
Aim to get your 5 A DAY
Vegetables and fruit are the building blocks of a healthy diet – aim for at least five portions a day. Try adding chopped banana or berries to your cereal or porridge or swap your normal snack for a piece of fruit or vegetable sticks.
- Get our 5 A DAY portion poster
- We show you how many of your 5 A DAY are in each of our healthy recipes
Reshape your plate
Think differently about what you put on your plate – filling at least three-quarters of your plate with wholegrains, vegetables, fruit and pulses will help to provide your body with the nutrients it needs for good health.