CPR First Aid

What are the Five Food Groups?

What are the Five Food Groups

According to Eat for Health guidelines, the five food groups are vegetables, fruits, whole grains, protein sources, and dairy. The government agency, under the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care, publishes the Australian Dietary Guidelines. It contains information on the type of food to eat for health, nutrients they contain, and ideal servings. However, healthy eating is not the only way to boost overall well-being. It’s also helpful to apply other lifestyle changes that improve the other aspects of your body. Read further to learn how you may improve your diet and health. 

What are the Five Food Groups?

The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating mentions the following five food groups that you must eat every day.

The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating mentions the following five food groups that you must eat every day.

Vegetables and Legumes/Beans

Vegetables come from different parts of a plant such as the leaves, roots, tubers, flowers, stems, seeds, and shoots. It’s broken down into the following major sub-groups.

  • Dark green or cruciferous/brassica
  • Root/tubular/bulb vegetables
  • Legumes/beans
  • Other vegetables

Legumes or beans are seeds of plants that are eaten in their immature and mature form (such as dried peas).

Fruits

Fruits also have different categories such as the ones below.

  • Pome fruits
  • Citrus fruits
  • Stone fruits
  • Tropical fruits
  • Berries
  • Other fruits 

Fruits such as watermelon, strawberries, and oranges are also high in water content which makes them helpful foods for dehydration and are perfect for summertime. 

Grains

Grains are made of wheat, oats, rice, rye, barley, millet, quinoa, and corn which are eaten whole or ground. Its four main sub-groups are the following.

  • Bread
  • Breakfast Cereals
  • Grains
  • Other products

Grains also come in two forms – whole grain (which contains more nutrients and is ideal to consume) and refined grains (which contain more fat and sugar).

Protein Sources

The following foods are rich in protein which is a good energy source.

  • Lean meats
  • Poultry
  • Fish and seafood
  • Egg
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Legumes and beans

The mode of cooking these vary including smoked, salted, and preserved.

Dairy

The consumption of milk, yoghurt, and cheese is also important and those with low levels of fat and salt are the healthiest options. People with allergies and intolerance must seek guidance from a doctor about alternatives.

Why Eat the Five Food Groups?

The Australian government recommends enjoying a variety of food from the five groups every day to meet the nutrient requirements essential for good health. The groupings of the food are done according to the similar amounts of key nutrients they provide.

The Australian government recommends enjoying a variety of food from the five groups every day to meet the nutrient requirements essential for good health. The groupings of the food are done according to the similar amounts of key nutrients they provide.

What are the Nutrients in Each Food Group?

The five food groups provide the following key nutrients.

Food Group Key Nutrients
Vegetables and Legumes/Beans Magnesium

Vitamin C

Folate

Dietary fibre

A range of phytochemicals

Fruits Fibre

Vitamin A

Vitamin C

Vitamin E

Different phytochemicals

Potassium 

Magnesium

Grains Protein

Fibre

Vitamin B Folate

Vitamin E

Thiamin

Riboflavin

Niacin

Iron

Zinc

Magnesium

Phosphorus

Protein Sources Protein

Iodine

Iron

Zinc

Vitamins B12

Essential fatty acids

Dairy Healthy fat

Calcium

Protein

Iodine

Vitamin A

Vitamin D

Vitamin B12

Riboflavin

Zinc

 

The intake of such nutrients helps reduce the risk of certain diseases.

What Health Issues Can the Five Food Groups Avoid?

According to multiple research, consumption of the five food groups has been found to reduce the chances of developing the following.

Food Group Health Issues It Can Help Avoid
Vegetables and Legumes/Beans Site-specific cancers

Coronary heart disease

Stroke

Weight gain

Fruits Cancer

Weight gain

Cardiovascular conditions

High blood pressure

Immune system problems

Grains Coronary heart disease

Colon cancer

Diabetes

Diverticular disease

Digestive system issues

Weight gain

Protein Sources Dementia

Cardiovascular disease

Stroke

Age-related macular degeneration in the eyes

Dairy Type 2 diabetes

Adding these to your daily diet may be better than acquiring first aid and hospital treatments for such health issues.

What are the Eat for Health Guidelines on the Servings?

The number of daily servings depends on age and gender as shown in the table.

Male Number of Servings per Day
Age Vegetables and Legumes/Beans Fruits Grains Protein sources Dairy
Toddlers (1-2 yo) 2-3 1/2 4 1 1-1½
Boys (2-18 yo) 2½ – 5½ 1-2 4-7 1-2½ 1½-3½
Adult (19-50 yo) 6 2 6 3
Adult (51-70yo) 2 6
Adult (70+ yo) 5 2
Female
Toddlers (1-2 yo) 2-3 1/2 4 1 1-1½
Girls (2-18yo) 2½-5
Adult (19-50yo) 5 2 6
Adult (51-70yo) 5 2 4 2 4
Adult (70+ yo) 5 2 3 2 4
Pregnant 5 2
Lactating 2 9

Refer to the website of Eat for Health for specific numbers for every age and suggestions for those who are taller and more active.

What Other Healthy Lifestyle Changes Contribute to Overall Health?

Aside from regular consumption of items under the five food groups, various government websites also recommend doing the following.

  • Doing regular physical activity
  • Minimising alcohol intake
  • Quitting smoking
  • Sleeping enough

Socialising may also help boost your mental health.

Aside from regular consumption of items under the five food groups, various government websites also recommend doing the following.

Conclusion

Vegetables, fruits, grains, protein sources, and dairy are the five food groups the Australian government identified. Regular consumption of these helps meet the nutrient requirements essential for good health. As a result, there is a boost in your well-being and there is a possibility to reduce the risk of developing health issues. Follow the government’s guidelines on the daily servings according to age and gender. Aside from healthy eating, it’s also helpful to apply other positive lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, minimising alcohol, quitting smoking, and others.

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