02 Apr Report finds most people should increase consumption of fruits and vegetables
We all know that eating fruits and vegetables is crucial to a healthy diet. But how much of them should we eat?
First Lady Michelle Obama has a simple rule that’s easy to remember: fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables.
According to a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the five servings of fruits and vegetables that are commonly recommended in the U.S. and U.K. may not even be enough to prevent common health problems and ailments.
According to the researchers, a healthful diet should include seven or more portions of fruits and vegetables a day. In particular, the researchers say eating a diet rich in vegetables offers the most protective health benefits.
Dr. Oyinlola Oyebode of UCL’s department of epidemiology and public health and lead author of the study, led a group that evaluated data for more than 65,000 adults, who were 35 and older.
The researchers looked at information collected from England’s annual health surveys conducted between 2001-2008, which included records of fatalities over 7.5 years. The data reported that 4,399 people died during this time period, or 6.7 percent of the population surveyed.
On average, the study revealed that people consumed under four servings of fruits and vegetables a day — and the more they ate the better their health. People who ate seven servings of fruits and vegetables appeared to lower their risk for death from common diseases by about 42 percent. Additionally, they reduced their risk for heart disease and cardiovascular problems by 31 percent and their risk for cancer by 25 percent.
Interestingly, the study found that eating vegetables had a more positive impact on health than fruit. Two to three portions of vegetables reduced risk of death from common diseases by 19 percent, compared with 10 percent for people who favored fruit.
“The clear message here is that the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the less likely you are to die at any age,” Dr. Oyebode told The Telegraph. “My advice would be however much you are eating now, eat more.”
This impressive study even recommends which types of fruits to eat — stick with fresh over canned. They reported people who consumed canned peaches rather than fresh ones actually increased their risk for dying premature by around 17 percent.
Eating seven helpings of fruits and vegetables can seem overwhelming, but the portions don’t have to be that big. The CDC has a chart with tips how to get reasonable portions throughout the day.