Veg Facts 

Your veg questions answered! Have a veg question? Email us at vegcitiescambridge@gmail.com.

How much veg should we eat?

  • On average, we need to eat at least one extra portion a day, and many of us need to eat much more
  • The latest Eatwell Guide shows that adults should eat 3.5 portions of vegetables each day
  • All fresh, frozen, dried and tinned veg are included, as well as veg juices and soups
  • One portion veg is 80g for adults and 50g for children
  • An adult portion is a medium tomato, a handful of spinach or two broccoli spears, perhaps not as much as you think!

What are the health benefits of eating veg?

  • Diets that are low in veg are associated with more than 20,000 premature deaths across the UK [1]
  • Research shows that veg in our diet helps to protect us against coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease [2][3]
  • Increasing the amount of veg we eat, as well as eating a wide variety of different kinds of veg, may also protect against type 2 diabetes [4]
  • Fruit and veg are an important source of fibre, which is associated with reducing blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancers [5] 
  • Natural chemicals found in veg may also play a role in regulating cholesterol levels [6]
  • Spending time growing veg in your garden or local community space boosts mental health and wellbeing
  • Vegetables provide important vitamins and minerals to our diets, helping us to stay fit and healthy! 

Why is eating more veg better for the environment?

  • In the UK, consumption of meat and meat products accounts for around 48% of the UK’s food-related greenhouse gas emissions [7]
  • Eating one more portion of veg and less meat could reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by almost a fifth, reducing our contribution to climate change [8]
  • At a local level, growing food in our gardens and community spaces can improve biodiversity, cut food miles and help to mitigate climate change.

What are the economic benefits of buying more locally grown veg?

  • If veg consumption increased in line with dietary guidance, the UK would have the chance to grow more veg and boost our food economy. Buying locally grown veg supports local employment and skills development 
  • Urban agriculture has a huge potential to produce a lot more veg. If fully implemented in cities around the world, urban agriculture could produce as much as 180 million metric tons of food a year — perhaps 10% of the global output of legumes, roots, tubers and vegetable crops! [9]

Growing and eating more veg offers a triple win: a win for our health and wellbeing, our local economy, and a win for our carbon footprints and the environment.

 

[1] IHME 2015

[2] He et al. 2007; Dauchet et al. 2006

[3] Wang et al. 2014; Nguyen et al. 2016; Leenders et al. 2013

[4] Cooper et al. 2012

[5] Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, 2015; Whelton SP, 2005; Streppel MT, 2005

[6] Heiss C, 2010; Amir Shaghaghi M, 2013

[7] Macdiarmid et al. 2011

[8] Green et al. 2015

[9] Wired, 2018