5 a day debunked
Guest Blog: Nicole Bee (lingonberrynature.com)
With so much information around it can be confusing? Should you be drinking 8 glasses of water a day? Is 5 a day really enough? If so are all fruits and veg created equal? What about Recommended Daily Amounts? And do vitamin supplements really work? Can you take too many vitamins? What’s the latest thinking?
The fact of the matter is there is no one size fits all remedy. Different people require different level of nutritional intake, and only some of those vitamins are apparent in fruit and veg. Additionally our requirement may change at different stages of our lives.
What is known is that what is considered the Modern diet, which contains a large amount of junk or fast food, and frozen microwaveable meals will often leave us bordering on or with nutritional deficiency. What is less known is that the symptoms of nutritional deficiency are not always recognised as being related to dietary intake.
A personal example: A friend of mine who had been through emotional upheaval came to live with me for a period of about 6 months. She suffered from depression, and often chose to sit in the dark, watching television with very little expression. I looked at what she ate, and her diet was pretty appalling, yet aesthetically she looked fine. Having read about how depression sufferers sometimes require higher levels of B vitamins compared to others, I convinced her to drink these juices I was making as part of my 3 day juice fast. The juices contained dark green vegetables like kale, or in some cases, moringa or rainbow chard. The results were astonishing, on the 3rd day, instead of getting up and closing the curtains in the front room, she was literally running around a little giddy. At first I thought maybe she had taken something, but upon questioning she hadn’t, she couldn’t explain it, she said she just felt energised.
This was just 1 person so its far from statistical, but there are other examples, watch this video from Food Matters
So where does that leave us with regards to 5 a day? If you are not consuming 5 a day of fruit or vegetables I would recommend increasing the amount and see how you feel, however don’t just focus on pieces of fruit or pieces of vegetable, look at the other meals you are consuming, are they fresh? Do they contain any veg or fruit? Improving the quality of your overall intake is key. Further I would try experimenting with juicing. Juicing of vegetable is a great way to consume high doses of certain vitamins and minerals that you would never normally consume in that quantity. e.g. you would rarely consume a whole packet of celery in one go but you might via a juice. Try supplementing with juice for a while and see how you feel.
Do vitamin supplements work?
In short yes, in long (is that an expression?) it depends. The vitamin supplement industry has been tarnished by 2 commonly repeated yet not fully understood statements:
- You get all the vitamins you need from your diet anyway
- You can’t absorb vitamins when they come in tablet form