Can five a day help you lose weight quickly and bring improvements to your health?
For many years, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has continuously put emphasis on the need to have five fruits and vegetables every day. Unfortunately however many research point to the fact that many of us have not taken and still do not take the five a day advice seriously
What exactly is Five a day?
Five a day refers to the need for every person to have five fruits and vegetables a day. It highlights the importance of fruits and veggies and the health benefits they provide us. It also stresses the role these play in any healthy diet and the necessity of having 80 gram portions of these every day.
According to the WHO, eating at least 400 grams of fruits and vegetables every day can provide you with many health benefits and help to lower the chances of getting various diseases including those related to the heart and the lungs.
Why five a day
Fruits and veggies give us a lot of health benefits and should be regarded as a “must-have” component of any healthy diet plan. Some of the many benefits include
Fruits and vegetables contain a wide range minerals and vitamins. Most vitamins, for example can’t be made by the body and fruits and veggies provide a very good source for these.
- They are a very good source of dietary fibre. Eating healthy fibre can keep you full for very longer periods. This means the temptation to eat more than required is greatly reduced. Foods that are high in fibre take a longer time to chew. This gives the stomach enough time to communicate the necessary signals to the brain, helping to reduce the amount of food you eat at any one time. Thus eating foods with high fibre contents is seen as one of the most effective weapons to help put you on the quickest way to lose weight.
- Being high in fibre, they can help prevent constipation and help reduce the chances of getting bowel cancer.
- Can help cut down the possibility of getting various diseases, including those related to the heart, various types of cancer and stroke and diabetes
- As they are mostly low in calories and fat, fruits and vegetables can help you to maintain a healthy weight and a healthy digestive system, in addition to keeping your heart healthy
What qualifies as part of five a day?
With a few exceptions, all fresh fruits and vegetables can be regarded as part of the five a day requirement. However, they don’t necessarily have to be fresh before they can be counted. Again, they don’t have to be eaten in isolation. Thus using them to prepare a dish or meal is another good way of getting your five a day. Thus, the following are all accepted as part of the five a day requirement.
- Cooked meals such as stews and soups containing fruits and vegetables.
- Beans and pulses are also included in the list. However, though these are high in fibre, because these contain fewer nutrients than fruits and veggies, they are only counted as one portion, irrespective of the quantity you eat in a day.
- Frozen and canned vegetables, with special emphasis on those with little or no added sugar and salt, and containing natural juice
- Dried fruits, including dates, currants and figs.
- Ready-made meals containing fruits and vegetables, including soups, sources and puddings, with special emphasis, once again, on those with low-fat salt and sugar contents.
- Unsweetened pure fruits and vegetable juice with no additions of any kind. 150ml (one glass) of such juice is required to qualify as part of the five a day need. Because juices contain less fibre than the whole produce, drinking more than the 150ml will not give you an extra count.
- A smoothie prepared with all the components of the fruits and veggies that are edible could be regarded as more than one depending upon the composition and preparation.
To get the most out of the five a day, you should opt for as many different types, and as many colours as you can lay your hands on each day.
Do we need five a day or seven a day?
According to a study undertaken by University College London, taking seven a day could reduce the possibility of dying by about 42%. However, another research published in the British Medical Journal points to the fact that any quantity above the five a day hardly provides any further benefits.
Thus, as recommended by WHO, eating the recommended portions could reduce the chances of dying early by about a quarter. This is what is recommended in many countries including Norway, Germany and France. Canadian however, recommends their citizens should take from seven to ten, while Australia recommends people should eat five portions of vegetables and 2 portions of fruits every day.
Are all vegetables included in the five a day?
Starchy foods such as potatoes, yams, plantain and cassava are not regarded a part of the five a day requirements. This is because they are eaten as starchy foods, adding starch to our diet. However, sweet potatoes, swedes, turnips and parsnips are counted towards the five a day, as they are normally eaten in addition to the starchy food portions of the meal.
It is worth noting that even though potatoes are not regarded as part of the five fruits and veggies a day, they form a very important component of any healthy diet. They are a very good source of fibre, Vitamin B, potassium and help provide the body with the energy it requires to perform at the highest level.
Are you having your five a day?
It is estimated only about 30% of adults in Britain, for example, are able to meet the five fruits and veggies a day target. A National Diet and Nutrition Survey concluded most British adults between 19 and 64 years eat only about four portions a day. This means many of us are missing out on the chances of keeping ourselves healthy and living a longer life with fewer health complications.
Are you having your five a day? How are you able to meet that. Why not use the form below to share that with us? Share this with your family, friends and in your social media outlets if you find the article useful