We are told to eat five fruit and veg portions a day. Why? Is this healthy? Are there better foods that we could and should be eating?
Table 1 has five foods that I would recommend as healthy – based on evidence of nutrient provision. Between them (and not always needing 100g for many nutrients to be acquired) they provide all the nutrients that humans need. Please note the nutrients that are most difficult to obtain. People should ideally consume 200g of oily fish each day to get close to the vitamin D and calcium requirements; the addition of steak to these five foods would be helpful to increase zinc intake.
Table 2 has the same information extracted for a typical five-a-day: apple, banana, orange, carrots and peas.
The yellow highlighter gives you a quick visual check of which food provides the most of each nutrient per 100g of product. This is why I describe liver as the most nutritious food on the planet. Please let me know if you find a food with essential fats and complete protein, which is richer in vitamins and minerals than liver.
(All per 100g of product)Chicken LiverSardinesEggsSunflower seedsKaleEssential Fats – omega 3 (mg)61,4807474180Essential Fats – omega 6 (mg)4863,5441,14823,048138Protein Quality (100+ = complete protein)1491481368892VitaminsA Retinol (900 mcg)3,2903213900A Carotene (assumed retinol equivalent)6013769B1 (Thiamin) (1.2 mg)0.30.10.11.50.1B2 (Riboflavin) (1.3 mg)22.214.171.124.40.1B3 (Niacin) (16 mg)126.96.36.199.31B5 (Pantothenic Acid) (5 mg) (AI)188.8.131.52.10.1B6 (1.7 mg)0.90.20.11.30.3Folate (400 mcg)588124722729B12 (2.4 mcg)184.108.40.2060C (90 mg)17.9001.4120D (600 IU) (AI) (*)neg2723500E (15 mg)0.72133.20K (120 mcg) (AI)02.60.30817Minerals (M)Calcium (1,000 mg) (AI)83825378135Magnesium (420 mg)19391232534Phosphorus (700 mg)29749019166056Minerals (T)Copper (0.9 mg)0.50.20.11.80.3Iron (18 mg)9.02.91.85.21.7Manganese (2.3 mg) (AI)0.30.10.01.90.8Selenium (55 mcg)54.652.731.753.00.9Zinc (11 mg)220.127.116.11.00.4
* Data for vitamin D is in IU’s – International Units. The USA has recently revised recommended vitamin D intakes to be 15 mcg per day (from 10 mcg per day). This is equivalent to 600 IU.
(All per 100g of product)AppleBananaOrangeCarrotsPeasEssential Fats – omega 3 (mg)9279235Essential Fats – omega 6 (mg)434623115152Protein Quality (100+ = complete protein)316258N/A84VitaminsA Retinol (900 mcg)00000A Carotene (assumed retinol equivalent)331283538B1 (Thiamin) (1.2 mg)0.00.00.10.10.3B2 (Riboflavin) (1.3 mg)0.00.10.10.10.1B3 (Niacin) (16 mg)0.10.70.412.1B5 (Pantothenic Acid) (5 mg) (AI)0.10.30.30.30.1B6 (1.7 mg)0.00.40.10.10.2Folic Acid (Folate) (400 mcg)320341965B12 (2.4 mcg)0.00.00.00.00.0C (90 mg)4.68.759.15.940D (600 IU) (AI) (*)0.00.00.00.00.0E (15 mg)0.20.10.20.70.1K (120 mcg) (AI)2.20.50.013.224.8Minerals (M)Calcium (1,000 mg) (AI)65433325Magnesium (420 mg)527111233Phosphorus (700 mg)11222335108Minerals (T)Copper (0.9 mg)0.00.10.000.2Iron (18 mg)0.10.30.10.31.5Manganese (2.3 mg) (AI)0.00.30.00.10.4Selenium (55 mcg)0.01.00.00.11.8Zinc (11 mg)0.00.20.10.21.2