I am
Show me:
Show me:
Fruit, vegetables and heart health
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Fruit, vegetables and heart health

How to boost your fruit and vegetable intake to help protect your heart. 

Key takeaways

  • Fruit and vegetables can help lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. 
  • Eating fruit and vegetables can also help manage cholesterol levels and weight. 
  • Less than 10 per cent of Australians eat the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables. 
  • Try to make fruit or vegetables a part of every meal. Variety is key. 
Naturally colourful and tasty, eating plenty of fruit and vegetables can help keep you healthy and lower your risk of heart disease.  

That’s not all. Fruit and vegetables can help to protect against type 2 diabetes and some cancers. They can also help to manage cholesterol levels and weight.  

Most Australians don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables. [1] 

How many servings of fruit and vegetables should you eat a day?  

Part of a heart-healthy diet involves eating a wide variety of foods. The more colour, the better. Focus on including as much fresh and unprocessed food as possible.  

For good health, you should try to eat at least five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit every day [2]. 

Children, pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers may need more or less. For more information on what's right for you, visit the Australian Dietary Guidelines or talk to an Accredited Practising Dietitian. 

How much is a serving of fruit and vegetables?  

Fruit 

  • 1 medium apple, banana, orange or pear 
  • 2 small apricots, plums, kiwi fruit 
  • 1 cup of diced/canned fruit (no syrup) 
  • ½ cup (125ml) juice (drink only occasionally) 
  • 30g (small handful) of dried fruit (eat only occasionally). 

Vegetables 

  • ½ cup of cooked vegetables 
  • 1 cup of raw or salad vegetables 
  • ½ cup of sweetcorn 
  • ½ medium potato, sweet potato, and other starchy vegetables 
  • ½ cup of cooked peas, beans or lentils. 

How to add more fruit and vegetables to your diet 

Adding more fruit and vegetables to your diet is easy. Here are a few tips to get you started. 

Eat fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruit and vegetables 

While fresh is often considered best, frozen and canned vegetables can be just as healthy. They all count. Always read the nutrition information panel on the food label to avoid added salt and sugar. 

Plan your main meal around vegetables  

Add an extra serve of vegetables or a side salad to each main meal. Swap some of the meat and poultry in recipes with legumes (beans, peas or lentils). 

Chop it!  

Cut up fruit and vegetables in the morning. Just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean it can’t be fun; cutting up fruit and vegetables into bite-sized pieces can save the hassle later and it makes it easier to transport. Make sure to store them in an air-tight container in the fridge for when you get hungry between meals. 

Add salad to your wholegrain sandwich 

Try adding lettuce, tomato, carrot and tomato for a healthy boost. Spinach leaves, tomato and finely cut up onion and mushrooms work well in a toasted sandwich. Yum! 

Eat seasonally 

Fruit and vegetables that are in season are often fresher and cheaper. 

Fill half of your plate 

Eat the rainbow – add three different-coloured vegetables as part of your dinner. 

Sprinkle fruit on your breakfast 

Add chopped fresh or frozen fruit to your cereal or porridge to not only make it healthier, but also more flavoursome. 

Order a side  

Eating out and eating healthy are not mutually exclusive. Ordering vegetable-based pasta sauces, vegetable toppings for pizzas or a stir-fry is an easy way to add vegetables to your meal. You can also order side-salad or vegetables with your meal, the more greens the  better. 

Try fruit as a snack 

Rather than reaching for a bag of chips or chocolate bar, try to eat more fresh or frozen berries, which go well with unflavoured yoghurt. 

Work in more 

Add fresh or frozen vegetables and legumes to your pasta dishes, soups or casseroles. Try adding grated vegetables, such as carrot or zucchini to sauces. 

Have fun with it

Find fun ways to cook and serve vegetables and fruits to help you eat enough. 
It may take some practise, but eating a range of these healthy foods can become second nature.  

Eat the rainbow: Add colour and variety to your meals 

Eating different types of fruit and vegetables each day helps you get enough fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Different colours offer different healthy nutrients and help your body to function at its best. 

Each week, try to include fruit and vegetables from all of different colour groups. 

Orange and yellow 
  • Corn
  • Pumpkin
 
  • Mandarins 
  • Sweet potato
 
  • Nectarines 
  • Oranges
 
  • Capsicum
  • Bananas
 
  • Carrot 
 
   
Red 
  • Tomato 
  • Capsicum
 
  • Strawberries 
  • Raspberries
 
  • Apples
 
   
Purple and blue 
  • Eggplant 
  • Blueberries 
 
  • Plums 
  • Beetroot
   
Green 
  • Peas 
  • Cucumber 
 
  • Grapes 
  • Apples 
 
  • Kiwi fruit. 
  • Lettuce 
 
  • Baby spinach
  • Beans 
 
  • Broccoli 
 
   
Brown and white 
  • Potato 
  • Cauliflower 
 
  • Cabbage 
  • Mushroom 
 
  • Onion. 
 















 



WHAT NEXT?

Five foods to help lower blood pressure

Five foods to help lower blood pressure

Five foods to help lower blood pressure

One the easiest steps you can take to prevent high blood pressure is choosing healthy foods....

5 Ingredient Recipes Booklet

5 Ingredient Recipes Booklet

5 Ingredient Recipes Booklet

A collection of quick and delicious heart healthy recipes. Get your booklet now! ...

10 ways to get the right balance of fats 

10 ways to get the right balance of fats 

10 ways to get the right balance of fats 

Getting the right balance of fats in your diet can improve your heart health....

Heart Foundation recipes

Heart Foundation recipes

Heart Foundation recipes

Search all of our heart healthy recipes ...

Key healthy eating messages for heart attack recovery 

Key healthy eating messages for heart attack recovery 

Key healthy eating messages for heart attack recovery 

Eating healthy foods can help you recover and reduce your risk of more heart problems. ...

Five ways to lower cholesterol

Five ways to lower cholesterol

Five ways to lower cholesterol

Lower your cholesterol, whether you're eating breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert or even a snack....

Cook with Heart

Cook with Heart

Cook with Heart

Join the Cook with Heart Challenge as seen on Channel 7...

Dairy and your heart health

Dairy and your heart health

Dairy and your heart health

Not all dairy products are equal. Discover different types of dairy foods and their impact on heart health....

Heart Foundation recipes

Heart Foundation recipes

Heart Foundation recipes

Check out our recipe categories to find your next heart healthy meal....

Nutrition after a heart attack

Nutrition after a heart attack

Nutrition after a heart attack

Discover key information on heart-healthy eating and drinking....

New diet recommendations matter to your heart

New diet recommendations matter to your heart

New diet recommendations matter to your heart

Heart-healthy eating is not about one specific food or nutrient; it’s about regularly eating a variety of healthy foods over time....

Nutrition action plan

Nutrition action plan

Fats, oils and heart health

Fats, oils and heart health

Fats, oils and heart health

Get the right balance of healthy fats in your diet ...

Should you be cooking with coconut oil?

Should you be cooking with coconut oil?

Should you be cooking with coconut oil?

25 June 2018...

Sodium and salt converter

Sodium and salt converter

Convert the sodium listed on food products into grams of salt or vice versa. ...

Reading food labels

Reading food labels

Reading food labels

Nutrition information panels and ingredients lists are a good way of comparing similar foods so you can choose the healthiest option....

Sorting fat from fiction

Sorting fat from fiction

Sorting fat from fiction

It seems when healthy eating is the subject, everyone wants to talk about fat. It can be a confusing and polarising topic....

What is a healthy body weight?

What is a healthy body weight?

What is a healthy body weight?

Find out what a healthy body weight is and the steps you can take to achieve it. ...

Why are you playing this game? It’s putting your heart at risk.

Why are you playing this game? It’s putting your heart at risk.

Why are you playing this game? It’s putting your heart at risk.

The game is “hide and seek”. You play it without even realising. The shock is that when you play this game, you could be placing your heart health at risk....

Healthy eating to protect your heart

Healthy eating to protect your heart

Healthy eating to protect your heart

What does a heart-friendly diet look like?...

You’ll love our heart-healthy winter recipes

You’ll love our heart-healthy winter recipes

You’ll love our heart-healthy winter recipes

9 food and heart health myths, busted

9 food and heart health myths, busted

9 food and heart health myths, busted

Let’s dive into nine common food and health myths and the facts behind them....

Heart-healthy drinks

Heart-healthy drinks

Heart-healthy drinks

While water is clearly the most heart-healthy drink, there are ther drinks that can be enjoyed in moderation. ...

How to make healthier meals at home

How to make healthier meals at home

How to make healthier meals at home

Cooking at home is often healthier than eating out....

Protein and heart health

Protein and heart health

Protein and heart health

What are the best sources of protein when it come to your heart health...

Is salt bad for your heart?

Is salt bad for your heart?

Is salt bad for your heart?

Most Australians are eating more than the recommended amounts and this can cause health problems....

What waist measurements mean for your heart

What waist measurements mean for your heart

What waist measurements mean for your heart

How your waist measurement contributes to your heart health...

Wholegrains and heart health

Wholegrains and heart health

Wholegrains and heart health

All you need to know about wholegrains to put you on the right track...

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

Full list of clinical guidlines and references for CVD, heart failure, ACS, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, SCAD and RHD...

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Join the fight against Australia’s biggest killer by supporting the Heart Foundation.  ...

Support and resources for health care professionals

Support and resources for health care professionals

Support and resources for health care professionals

Our range of clinical and patient support resources are available for you to use in your daily practice....

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

There is no single cause for any one heart condition, but there are risk factors that increase your chance of developing one. ...

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Join the Heart Foundation community. Together, we can make a real difference for Australian hearts. ...

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation programs and resources to support your recovery....

Heart Age Calculator

Heart Age Calculator

Heart Age Calculator

Try our Heart Age Calculator to understand what contributes to your risk of heart disease....

Heart attack recovery – quit smoking

Heart attack recovery – quit smoking

Heart attack recovery – quit smoking

Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease. Get the facts on quitting and how it can help you recover. ...

Our research stories

Our research stories

Our research stories

We fund amazing researchers who have important stories to tell...

Snack recipes

Snack recipes

Snack recipes

Search for healthy snack ideas...

Dessert recipes

Dessert recipes

Dessert recipes

Find heart healthy dessert recipes....

Italian recipes

Italian recipes

Italian recipes

Find heart healthy Italian recipes....

Vegetarian recipes

Vegetarian recipes

Vegetarian recipes

Search through our vegetarian recipes...

Taking your medicines

Taking your medicines

Taking your medicines

There are many medicines that treat heart attack, angina, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other heart conditions....

Sodium and salt converter

Sodium and salt converter

Convert the sodium listed on food products into grams of salt or vice versa. ...

What is angina?

What is angina?

What is angina?

Angina is a type of chest pain or discomfort that’s a symptom of an underlying heart problem, usually coronary heart disease (CHD)....

Encouraging cardiovascular research excellence in NSW

Encouraging cardiovascular research excellence in NSW

Encouraging cardiovascular research excellence in NSW

A ground-breaking collaboration bringing together for the first time the state’s most eminent cardiovascular researchers...

What's your BMI?

What's your BMI?

What's your BMI?

Are you within a healthy weight range for your height?...

Heart attack recovery – your first month

Heart attack recovery – your first month

Heart attack recovery – your first month

Explore the Heart Foundation’s guide on what to expect in the first month after your heart attack. ...

Life changing research currently underway

Life changing research currently underway

Life changing research currently underway

Search our current researcher's and the ground breaking research being undertaken....

Advocating for healthy hearts throughout Australia

Advocating for healthy hearts throughout Australia

We're addressing the disparities in heart health so all Australians can live longer, healthier lives....

Supporting local Councils in South Australia

Supporting local Councils in South Australia

Supporting local Councils in South Australia

Resources to help support your council region to be healthy, connected and safe....

Lunch recipes

Lunch recipes

Lunch recipes

Search our lunch recipe ideas...

The one that took Jan’s breath away

The one that took Jan’s breath away

The one that took Jan’s breath away

Open heart surgery to treat damaged heart valves has improved Jan's overall health....

The Heart Foundation Alumni Program

The Heart Foundation Alumni Program

The Heart Foundation Alumni Program

Stay connected with your research alumni community. ...

Heart-healthy drinks

Heart-healthy drinks

Heart-healthy drinks

While water is clearly the most heart-healthy drink, there are ther drinks that can be enjoyed in moderation. ...

Beef recipes

Beef recipes

Beef recipes

Find heart healthy beef recipes....

What is heart valve disease?

What is heart valve disease?

What is heart valve disease?

Heart valve disease means that your heart valve or valves don't open or close properly....

Philanthropic investments

Philanthropic investments

Philanthropic investments

Making philanthropic investments through the Heart Foundation can transform Australians’ health. ...

About the Lighthouse Hospital Project

About the Lighthouse Hospital Project

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in Australia, but the burden of disease disproportionately affects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples....