Five fruit and veg a day or seven? How about seventeen?

Lots of lovely fruit and veg

The UK government currently tells us that we should be eating five portions of fruit and vegetables per day. However the media is currently heralding a story that we should in fact be eating seven portions per day. So what's going on?

Steadily accumulating evidence has suggested for many years that fruit and veg are good for you. The more you eat, the longer you'll probably live. But in fact, "five a day" isn't a magical specific amount. In Denmark people are advised to eat 6 a day; in France it's 10; and in Japan it's…. 17! Yes that's 17 portions of fruit and veg per day. So why 5 in the UK? Well in fact 5 portions is the minimum amount we should be eating, not the maximum.

The sad fact is that British people are apparently not keen on eating all that much fruit and veg! The Government knows that if they were to tell us to eat 17 portions per day, we'd all ignore the advice as unrealistic, and so our eating habits would go unchanged. So the decision was made to set a realistic goal that would be palatable (pun intended!) and hopefully the nation's health will benefit.

Osteopaths will occasionally ask about your diet and other lifestyle choices during your appointment. Certain dietary habits are associated with increased musculoskeletal pain and other issues. We also need to determine if the pain a patient describes is caused by muscle and joint problems, or if something more worrying is going on. Hence you may find we ask some odd questions sometimes! Remember, if you're ever unsure about what your osteopath is asking, you can always ask them to clarify and discuss their thinking with you.

Diet and exercise are specialist topics for many osteopaths, so some may offer advice on nutrition too.

If you're getting any unusual aches and pains or other symptoms then you can always mention them to your osteopath. To make an appointment with Austin email austin.plunkett.osteo@gmail.com.