Easy ways to get your five a day
Why it’s important for us to have our five fruit and/or veg a day. Why this amount? What are the best varieties? What will these aid?
Grandma always said ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ – and gosh, was she right! Well, not just apples – a rainbow of colours from a wide variety of fruit and veg will help keep you away from the GP, the surgeon and the heart specialist!
The World Health Organisation obviously took note of what Grandma said, too. Nearly twenty years ago, they recommended that we should all eat about a pound of fruit and veg a day to keep us healthy – that’s about five 3-4 ounce portions. They based their recommendation on a huge number of studies comparing people who did eat lots of greens with those who didn’t.
What’s so special about fruit and veg?
Fruit and vegetables are packed full of vitamins and minerals – all of which different parts of our bodies need to work really effectively. Of course, we could get these vitamins and minerals from supplements – but no supplements are so full of the goodies our bodies need. They prevent everything from scurvy to anaemia, and keep our eyes, hearts and immune systems in tip-top form, helping us to fight of everything from infections to cancer.
Supplements don’t have all the fibre and micronutrients we need – and they certainly don’t taste as good!
How do I get my five a day?
It can be remarkably easy – but it’s easy to be fooled. For instance, fresh, canned or frozen vegetables count all count – you don’t need to go to the market every morning! Some of my patients think canned veg and fruit is ‘processed’ and therefore bad for you. In fact, the term ‘processed food’ is generally used in a negative way when it refers to the healthy elements, like fibre, being removed. Canned fruit and veg is usually simply vacuum packed to prevent germs. The vitamins, minerals and fibre aren’t reduced. In fact, when fresh veg is left in the fridge for days, the vitamins often
Does fruit juice count?
No matter how much juice you drink, it only counts as one portion of your five a day. A single glass of 150ml is enough. That’s because when fruit juice is made, some of the vital ingredients like fibre are removed. Making juice from fruit also releases a natural fruit sugar which in large quantities can damage your teeth.
With thanks to 'My Weekly' magazine where this article was originally published.