How Much Fruit And Veg Should I Eat Each Day?
The government, supermarkets and a multitude of experts battle on to tell us about "5 a day" or even "10 a day"
But what does it all really mean? … And should we take any notice??
Why Bother Eating Fruit And Vegetables?
Eating a healthy diet and taking moderate exercise helps keep us fit and well. There's been plenty of research that shows a diet lacking in nutrients can increase the likelihood of us getting diseases.
In my school of thought a healthy diet means a varied diet - one that's not too dependent on any one food or food group.
But many of us eat mainly starchy foods, (such as potatoes, pasta, bread or white rice) and meat and very few vegetables or fruit.... and the short version is: without the vitamins and minerals in fruit and vegetables we’re more likely to get ill.
Whilst meat and some starchy foods can form an important part of your diet, we also need essential vitamins, minerals and proteins which are found in fruit and vegetables. Without these our diet is out of balance and problems such as; catching frequent colds, gum disease, skin problems and even serious illness may follow. The reason certain nutrients are called 'essential' is because we MUST eat them, the body is unable to make them itself so our only source is basically from what we eat.
It's sad but true that we seem to have forgotten that food is actually our fuel source, it's what keeps all the parts of the amazing machines (our bodies) that we live in going.
I find it scary to read that Malnutrition is becoming a new global norm (!!) and it's a significant problem in the UK.
"Today nearly one in three people in the world suffers from at least one form of malnutrition, including obesity, under-nutrition and/or vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Due to the rise in obesity, high-income countries are now home to the greatest number of malnourished people..."
Why 5 A Day?
About one third of the food we eat should be fresh fruit and vegetables. Eating 5 portions of different fruit and vegetables a day is an easy way of checking whether you're meeting your targets.
But bear in mind, many health research institutes are now recommending eating up to 10 portions of fruit and vegetables each day to stay healthy! So 5 really should be a minimum daily quantity.
It's usually better to aim for more vegetables than fruit. This is because fruit is higher in (natural) sugars and carbohydrates than most vegetables. So if you're watching your weight, try to make sure you're only having a couple of portions of fruit a day.
If you have signed up to my newsletter this months fact sheet has some useful tips on how to increase your daily vegetable intake.
By the way if you're not a 'fan' of the "food is fuel" analogy here is a link to a fabulous blog post on the Bodyforwife webpage that I whole heartedly agree with and had me lauging out loud (or LOL for the kids) ...and that's also where I found the fab image - Thank you!!!