Increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat each day can have an impact on your longevity. A recent study shows that seven servings of fruits and veggies a day is the magic number and vegetables have a greater impact than fruits do.
The study, led by Dr. Oyinloao Oyebode, of the Health and Social Surveys Research Group in the University of London, looks at 65,226 participations age 35 years or older. The participants were asked about all of the fresh, canned and frozen fruits and vegetables they ate each day over a period of seven years.
The researchers found the average participant ate 3.8 portions of fruit and 1.5 portions of vegetables a day. During the study period, 4,399 participants died which is about 6.7 percent of this group. Of those 4,399, 1,398 died of cancer and 1,554 died of heart disease.
Participants who ate at least seven daily portions of fruit and vegetables had a 42 percent loser risk of death from all causes. They also had a 25 percent reduced risk of dying from cancer and a 31 percent reduced risk of dying from heart disease and stroke.
The researchers concluded that vegetables offer more protection than fruits and that adults should eat seven or more portions of fruits and vegetables per day.
“The clear message here is that the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the less likely you are to die at any age,” said Oyebode. “Vegetables have a larger effect than fruit, but fruit still makes a real difference. If you’re happy to snack on carrots or other vegetables, then that is a great choice but if you fancy something sweeter, a banana or any fruit will also do you good.”
What This Means For You
If you have trouble getting enough servings of fruits and vegetables, don’t get too hung up on the number seven. If you’re eating zero and you add two or three, you’ll still better off. Every serving is worthwhile.
In fact, Oyebode encourages people to not “feel daunted by a big target like seven. Whatever your starting point, it is always worth eating more fruit and vegetables. In our study even those eating one to three portions had a significantly lower risk than those eating less than one.”
If you want to set a stretch goal for yourself to get up to seven servings a day, here are 10 easy ways to add more fruits and veggies to your life:
1. Add fresh, chopped vegetables to eggs, pasta and poultry dishes. They add flavor, color and nutrition.
2. Have a fruit smoothie at least twice a week with breakfast or lunch. Throw in a bunch of spinach or other leafy green for an additional serving of vegetables.
3. Take mini sweet peppers and baby carrots to work each day to snack on. Keep them visible throughout the day. You’ll be surprised how quickly they disappear. You can also stuff them for a healthy appetizer.
4. Make salad the main dish for supper at least once a week and load it up with a variety of green vegetables and fruits. Add grilled salmon or chicken for protein and the salad will seem more like a real meal.
5. Before you toss a pizza in the oven, top it off with some chopped fresh mushrooms and colorful bell peppers.
6. Make a batch of tasty fermented vegetables. Delicious!
7. Add thinly sliced cucumbers and bell peppers and coloful lettuce and to your sandwiches.
8. Try roasting cherry tomatoes in the oven. You can find the recipe here.
9. Instead of buying yogurt with the fruit in it, buy plain Greek yogurt and add you own fresh or frozen fruit. You’ll cut back on sugar and get in a couple of servings of fruit.
10. Incorporate Meatless Mondays and focus on vegetarian dishes that supply an abundance of vegetables.
There are many more ways to get more fruits and vegetables in your diet each day. By making fruits and vegetables the main dish a couple of times a week will give you a surplus.
What are some of the things you do to ramp up your fruit and vegetetable consumption?
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