There’s one fact that doctors, nutritionists and researchers all agree on: a diet rich in fruit and vegetables is essential to good health. But why “5-a-day”? And what does that mean in practice?
Imagine, for a moment, that your doctor tells you about a preventative medicine that could reduce your risk of developing common diseases of the heart, brain and eyes, enhance your mental health, and ward off diabetes, stroke and cancer. What’s more, it has no side effects and the cost could be covered by your weekly grocery bill. Oh, and it might even ensure you live longer. It sounds too good to be true, right? If such a miracle treatment regime existed, surely everyone would be taking it.
It does, and they’re not.
The evidence for 5-a-day
Turns out, an apple a day really can keep the doctor away (though you might want to add a couple of carrots, a handful of broccoli, some peas, and a banana). In recent years, a whole bunch of major research studies have shown a strong link between eating sufficient fruits and vegetables, and living a longer healthier life. Most studies show that a plant-rich diet starts to bear fruit (sorry!) when you eat at least 14oz a day - equivalent to 400 grams, or about 5 cup-sized servings.
The benefits get even greater if you eat more - some experts recommend you shoot for 8-10 servings - but researchers have found that 5-a-day is enough to correlate with longer life expectancy, and a reduced risk of:
high blood pressure
heart disease & stroke
type 2 diabetes
some types of cancer
macular degeneration & cataracts
cognitive decline & Alzheimer’s disease
depression & anxiety
The opportunity gap
It’s that easy: eat more fruit and veggies, and you’re likely to live a longer, healthier life. In fact, it’s one of the few things that all nutritionists and medical experts seem to agree on. These days, there’s also a growing consensus among global health researchers and climate scientists that moving to a diet that’s more reliant on fruits and vegetables is essential for the survival of our species, let alone for individual wellbeing. But as many as 9 out of 10 people in the US are not reaching their daily minimum, according to a 2017 CDC study. And in Europe, 3 out of 4 people don’t get 5-a-day.
There are many reasons for this. A lot of people find it hard to access or afford fresh produce. Others don’t fully understand the benefits, don’t know how to prepare fruits and veggies, or simply dislike them. And many of us struggle to fit all those fruits and veggies into our busy lifestyles. Even if we’re buying them, we’re not using them in time. Researchers estimate that households in the US throw away about 30% by mass of the fresh produce they buy, making it the most wasted food category in the country.
Our 5-a-day mission
We want everybody to eat their 5-a-day - and more, if possible. It’s the right solution for the people, and for the planet. That’s why we’re doing our best to spread the word that 5-a-day is one of the easiest ways to feel better and live longer. And with our products, we’re making it simpler for busy people to top up their fruit and veg intake, on the go. Each individual kencko smoothie gets you halfway to your 5-a-day minimum. That’s because it’s made from at least 220 grams of whole, fresh fruit and veggies, and nothing else. We don’t add any sweeteners, flavorings or preservatives, and we don’t take anything out except water. By flash-freezing the raw ingredients, then slowly drying them, we lock in the essential nutrients and the gut-friendly fiber, so we can deliver it to you in a format that lasts months, instead of days.
We’re all about helping you nourish yourself more, and waste less. Right now, we’re working hard to bring you more fast and easy fruit-and-veggie solutions for all your busy days - and to make them more affordable to everyone.
One step at a time
If you aren’t hitting your 5-a-day yet, don’t panic! The good news is that any additional fruits and vegetables in your diet make a difference, especially if you swap out something less healthy, like meat or processed snack foods. Our top tip: try to get at least one serving with breakfast - whether it’s spinach with your eggs, berries with your cereal or a quick kencko smoothie. Start your day with a healthy smoothie, and more often than not you’ll have a smoothie kind of day. You don’t just get a head start on your daily fruit and veggie goal, you’ll also feel more motivated to choose nutritious foods throughout the day.
Ways to 5-a-day
A serving is equivalent to about a cup, or the contents of your cupped hands.
Aim for a wide variety of produce that you enjoy. As a general rule, eat more veggies than fruit.
You’ve probably heard the advice to “eat a rainbow” - what you may not know is that different colors indicate the presence of different nutrients, so including a variety of colorful produce isn’t just easy on the eye, it’s great for your health, too.
Here are some more suggestions for getting your daily dose of plant power. Happy eating!
One serving of fruit could be:
1 apple, banana, orange or pear
A cup of chopped melon, pineapple or mango
6 or 7 strawberries
2 kiwi fruit, satsumas or plums
A cup of cherries or berries
Half a grapefruit
Half a cup of unsweetened dried fruit (raisins, apricots, etc)
One serving of veggies could be:
A cup of cooked kale, spinach or other greens
2 cups of raw salad greens
1 ½ celery sticks, a 2-inch chunk of cucumber, or a medium carrot
A cup of broccoli or cauliflower florets
1 medium tomato, or 6-7 cherry tomatoes
3 asparagus spears
A cup of grated/spiralized carrot or zucchini
An ear of sweetcorn