Around 33% of adults in the UK and Ireland eat five or more pieces of fruit and vegetables each day, the highest figure among developed countries.

The findings put the two nations joint top of a table of 33 countries for eating the World Health Organization-recommended 400g of fruit and veg each day.

Rob Percival, head of food policy at the Soil Association, said: “This may be the first time the UK has topped a European league table for the right reasons. We Brits are a nation of closet veggie chompers.”

Eating a regular amount of fruit and veg helps to protect against the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.

These latest figures have been published by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

After the UK and Ireland, the second highest ranking countries are Korea and Israel, with 32% of adults in these countries eating the recommended amount of fruit and veg.

They are followed by the Netherlands (30%), France (20%), Portugal (15%), and Germany (11%).

Registered dietitian Anna Daniels, a spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association, said: “It is very encouraging that the UK and Ireland are leading in consumption of fruits and vegetables with one in three achieving the five a day target.

“However, there is certainly room for improvement.

“There are still two in three not getting their five a day. It can be as easy as adding a handful of spinach into pasta, or peas into rice. The benefits are huge and once you are in a good routine, it is easily done.”

Despite the positive figures around fruit and vegetable consumption, the UK is the joint-second most obese nation – alongside Chile – out of 35 countries.

Around 26% of adults in the UK are obese, just behind the US where around 34% of adults are obese.

Korea has the lowest figure, with around 4% of adults being classed as obese.

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