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How To Get The 5 A Day You Actually Need

5 a day

Ever since I did a DNA test to understand what my dietary requirements are for crucial vitamins and other health-related factors, I’ve been starting the day with a vegetable and fruit smoothie.

The test results told me what my requirements are for cruciferous vegetables, omega 3, vitamin B6 and anti-oxidants, and I now ensure I get a good proportion of my daily needs in a morning smoothie. It’s quick and easy to do, and a great way to start the day. Here are five reasons why I think you should be doing the same:

1. Increase your cruciferous vegetables

Examples of cruciferous vegetables include Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage and kale, and (with the possible exception of the Brussel sprout), these can all be added to a smoothie. Cruciferous vegetables contain very high amounts of vitamin A carotenoid, vitamin C, folic acid, and fibre, and are also a good source of vitamin K. I use kale as a base for my smoothies, occasionally mixing it up with spinach for an extra boost.

2. Increase your omega 3

Omega 3 is a fatty acid that is essential to good health. Its benefits can boost positive mental health, and reduce the risk of cancer, cognitive aging, cardiovascular problems and inflammation. One of the best sources of omega 3 is oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines and to a lesser degree, tuna), but it can also be found in flaxseeds and chia seeds. You can add these seeds to a morning smoothie and they add texture as well as nutritional value.

3. Boost your vitamin B6

The richest sources of vitamin B6 are pork, turkey, beef, chickpeas, potatoes and bananas. Now obviously there’s only one of those foods that you’d want to add to a smoothie – the banana. The banana lends a slightly sweeter taste to the smoothie, and apart from B6, is also a great source of magnesium, potassium and fibre.

4. Ramp up your antioxidants

Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and cranberries are all excellent sources of antioxidants, and can all be added to a smoothie. I still buy them even when they are out of season for the goodness and taste that they bring. Any fruit or vegetable rich in vitamins A, C or E is a good addition – spinach contains lots of vitamin A and E, and oranges are a good source of vitamin C.

5. Just add almond milk

I use almond milk as a liquid for my smoothies. This is a good source of calcium and protein (although not as good as cow’s milk), but ideal if you’re lactose intolerant (as I found out in the DNA test). It also contains good omega 3 fatty acids. You could also add orange juice, but be wary of adding in too many fruits which can add calories and lead to blood sugar spikes.