Eat more fruits and vegetables for a healthy heart. Reuters

Only one in five in Britain has five-a-day meal, according to researchers from the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF).

Five-a-day meal means eating five portions of fruit every day or eating five portions of vegetables (includes salad) every day or eating a mix of fruit and vegetables such as two fruit and three vegetables, every day.

"Getting at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day is the building block of a healthy diet. Not only are fruit and vegetables a good source of nutrients, they also tend to be low in calories and full of fibre and so help us maintain a healthy weight," BBC quoted Kate Mendoza, head of education for the WCRF, as saying.

To know whether people have five-a-day meal, the WCRF conducted a study on more than 2,100 people in UK. They found that just one in five Britons or 20 per cent has five-a-day meal.

The study reveals that in lower income households only 17 per cent on average eat at least five-a-day meal whereas in higher income homes it is 27 per cent.

Fruit and vegetables consumption levels were lowest in the north of England, where 18 per cent had five or more portions daily. The highest levels of consumption were reported in the south of England, where 26 per cent said they ate at least five portions, according to BBC.

Researchers found that in London only 21 per cent of people eat five-a-day, whereas in Scotland 22 per cent have healthy meal and in Wales 23 per cent have five-a-day.

"These figures show that many people are still finding it difficult to follow the healthy eating message," said Mendoza.

"Although people are more aware of the significance of eating five-a-day than they used to be, it is clear that there are still barriers to incorporating plant foods into our daily diets," she added.

Researchers believe that five-a-day meal can reduce health risks and increase life expectancy.

"A diet based on plant foods, such as whole grains and pulses as well as fruit and vegetables, can reduce cancer risk as research shows they protect against a range of cancers. Recent research has confirmed that foods containing fibre reduce the risk of bowel cancer," said Mendoza.