The Victorians typically ate 8 - 10 portions of fruit and vegetables daily, in a diet that contained far higher levels of vitamins and minerals than occur in todays nutrient depleted processed foods. They also consumed a lot less salt, sugar and alcohol and tobacco than us, Victoran era-hitorian writer - Dr. Judith Rowbothan, based in Nottinghamshire.
Prior to 1900 fruit and vegetables were cheap, grown mainly in allotments or gardens. Yeast was there secret to strong immune systems and bread which was stone-ground had large amounts of yeast in it as did the beer they drank which was unfiletered and full of yeast.
Yeasts have recently been clinically proven in both animal and human studies to boost our immune system. Unfortunately modern yeast based foods such as processed mass produced breads do not contain these beta glucans, they are emoved in the refining process.
From the mid-19th Century, the birth rate rose and deaths fell - people started living longer because they were better nourished than previously believed. Adult life expectancy was 75 for men and 73 for women, but they generally remained in good health until their last few weeks of life. This implies that current advice for five portions of fruit and vegetables a day is insufficient.