Lead author Dr. Dagfinn Aune, of the School of Public Health at Imperial College London in the United Kingdom, and colleagues recently released a set of findings saying that eating 800 grams of fruits and vegetables daily – or around 10 portions of 80 grams – was associated with the lowest risk of disease and premature death. This includes eating foods like apples, pears and green leafy vegetables as these were found to be among the most beneficial for health.
One ‘portion’ was defined as being 80 grams worth of food, the equivalent to a small banana, or three heaped tablespoons of cooked vegetables (peas, cauliflower etc…)
To reach this finding, the researchers analyzed the data of 95 studies that looked at the health benefits of fruit and vegetable intake, and experimented on almost 2 million participants and around 43,000 cases of heart disease, 47,000 cases of stroke, 81,000 cases of cardiovascular disease (CVD), and 94,000 deaths. Through this, the team found that by eating 10 portions of fruit and vegetables daily, people can lower the risk of disease and death by 33 percent. In addition to this, eating 200g of fruit and vegetables daily was associated with an 18 percent reduced risk of stroke, a 16 percent reduced risk of heart disease, a 13 percent lower risk of CVD, a 4 percent reduced risk of cancer and a 15 percent reduced of premature death. Of course, the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the greater the health benefits are going to be. For example, the researchers calculated that if everyone ate 10 portions of fruits and vegetables daily, then around 7.8 million premature deaths could be prevented across the globe annually.
Finally, when it comes to thinking which fruits and vegetables are the best to eat, the greatest reduction in cancer risk was associated with intake of green vegetables (such as green beans), yellow vegetables (such as peppers and carrots), and cruciferous vegetables. As well as this, eating raw and cooked vegetables reduces the risk of premature death. The reasoning for why this may be was well explained by Dr Aune…
“This may be due to the complex network of nutrients they hold,” notes Dr. Aune. “For instance, they contain many antioxidants, which may reduce DNA damage, and lead to a reduction in cancer risk.”
Overall, the researchers believe their findings highlight the importance of fruits and vegetables as part of a healthful diet.
“We need further research into the effects of specific types of fruits and vegetables and preparation methods of fruit and vegetables. We also need mo
re research on the relationship between fruit and vegetable intake with causes of death other than cancer and cardiovascular disease.
However, it is clear from this work that a high intake of fruit and vegetables hold tremendous health benefits, and we should try to increase their intake in our diet.”
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