New study reveals bigger bodies require bigger servings of fruit and vegetables

A new study has revealed that bigger bodies require more servings of daily fruit and vegetables.

Almost 600 people took part in Auckland University of Technology's (AUT) research, which recommends vegetable serving sizes that are in direct proportion to a person's body size.

A machine used in the study - the Veggie Meter - measured whether participants were eating enough fruits and vegetables and how many carotenoids were in their diet. It showed a "strong correlation" between larger body size and lower carotenoid status.

AUT professor of nutrition Elaine Rush said carotenoids are general antioxidants which help the body with repair, healing and immunity. They also help in the fight against heart disease and diabetes.

"In practical terms, a person weighing 100 kilograms, with the same body fat as a person weighing 50 kilograms, would require twice the amount of carotenoids to achieve the same tissue concentration," a statement on the research's findings said.

Orange and yellow vegetables such as pumpkin and carrots are loaded with carotenoids, as are kale and spinach. Fruits, including apricots and watermelon, are also packed with them.

The current recommended daily intake is three vegetables and two fruits, but Rush said those numbers need revision.

"Australia has, in the last two years, changed over to five vegetables and two fruit a day, because the three is not enough to meet the requirements for the vitamins and minerals that we find in vegetables."

The researchers argue price could also be a factor in low intake, and removing the GST on fruits and vegetables like in the United Kingdom and Australia could help.

"We need to have some national policy that makes it possible for our population to reap the benefits of the excellent vegetables and fruit that we grow in New Zealand," Rush said.

She added that when you're filling your supermarket food basket, at least half of it should be filled with greens.