EATING five portions of fruit and veg a day might not enough, research has found.

The NHS recommends that every person has five different 80g portions of fruit and vegetables a day - which can lower the risk of serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and obesity.

But a new study suggests that eating seven or more helpings of fruit and veg a day can reduce a person's risk of dying of cancer by 25 per cent and of dying of heart disease by 31 per cent.

William Brown, the fifth generation of his family to run Brown's Greengrocers in Pocklington, said while he thought most people may struggle to eat seven 80g portions of fruit and veg a day, eating healthily did not have to be expensive.

He said: "I think people try their best to eat as much as they can.

"Fresh fruit and veg is actually cheaper than processed stuff if you buy the right things and don't waste."

The researchers from University College London (UCL) examined the eating habits of 65,000 people in England between 2001 and 2013.

They found that seven or more helpings a day can reduce a person's overall risk of death by 42 per cent when compared to people who manage just one whole portion every day.

The study showed that fresh vegetables had the strongest protective effect, followed by salad and then fruit but that canned and frozen fruit appeared to increase the risk of death, instead of decrease it. And no significant benefit of fruit juice was noted.

The authors said the findings lend support to the Australian government's advice of "two plus five" a day - encouraging people to eat two helpings of fruit and five portions of vegetables.

Sally Duffin, a York based nutritional therapist, said: "I think the real issue here is about getting people to move away from junk food, sugary foods and processed drinks and eat real food.

"The problem is that the Government has allowed the food industry to claim sugary tinned fruits, high sugar fruit juices and foods with added salt, sugar and fat can all count towards five a day. This study clearly shows a link between high intake of vegetables and reduced risk of ill health, not processed foods with added fruit concentrate.

"People can increase their veg portions by including two to three servings with each meal for example mushrooms and tomatoes with breakfast, salad leaves, carrots and beetroot with lunch and broccoli, sweetcorn and sweet potato with their evening meal."