A good portion of our daily vitamins come from fruits and vegetables. However, there are quite a few more benefits from getting our daily vitamin intake from fruits and vegetables rather than just taking a multivitamin daily. For one thing, studies conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health have shown that:
“Eating plenty of vegetables and fruits can help you ward off heart disease and stroke, control blood pressure, prevent some types of cancer, avoid a painful intestinal ailment called diverticulitis, and guard against cataract and macular degeneration, two common causes of vision loss.”
Pretty compelling stuff, right? So how much is enough? The 5 A Day Program, comprised of representatives from the National Cancer Institute, United States Department of Agriculture, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Cancer Society, National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity, and the Association of State and Territorial Directors of Health Promotion and Public Health Education, amongst others, believe that you should be eating between 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
What’s a serving consist of? Here are examples of servings for different fruits and vegetables.
So how much are Americans getting? The same study by Harvard School of Public Health states that most Americans get a total of three servings of fruits and vegetables a day. This simply isn’t enough.
So is it safe to say that some Americans supplement multivitamins in an effort to compensate for this lack of fruits and vegetables in their diet? You betcha! But maybe it’s not just that we’re getting an insufficient amount of fruits and vegetables. One researcher noted that:
“According to one study, two peaches supplied the daily value of vitamin A in 1951. The study reported that one would have to consume nearly 53 peaches today to receive the same daily value. A recent ABC News story showed the nutrient value of some fruits and vegetables has declined substantially in recent decades, reportedly because of modern farming practices. The United States Department of Agriculture now recommends up to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.”
So maybe the reason that we’re not getting enough vitamins and minerals in our diets is due to the decline in nutritional content of the fruits and vegetables themselves.
The answer obviously does not come from one factor. There are many different reasons why Americans are not getting the necessary daily vitamin and mineral amounts. So what is the answer?? Well, we’ve seen that there are benefits from eating fruits and vegetables that don’t just include daily vitamin requirements and we know that multivitamins do provide more than your daily requirement as well. So then why not use both! If you just simply can’t get the 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, then supplement with multivitamins. The key word here is supplement, don’t replace!! And make sure that you’re not getting too much of any one vitamin. Balance is key. You don’t want to take a multivitamin that has %1000 of your daily vitamin C while you’re eating 5 oranges a day!! The 5 A Day program also stresses getting a variety in the color of your fruits and vegetables, it’s an easy indicator to the variety of the vitamins you will get.
If we had to pick one or the other, obviously fruits and vegetables would win out. But at Earn Your Cheat Day, we stress self-awareness in your lifestyle. So identify how many servings of fruits and vegetables you can HONESTLY get and if it doesn’t meet the daily requirements, don’t be afraid to supplement!!
first photo provided by flickr user karimian
second photo provided by flickr user Gino
third photo provided by flickr user KitLkat