According to researchers at Imperial College London, the greatest benefit comes from eating 10 portions of fruit and vegetables per day, which is double the current guidelines of 5 fruit and vegetable servings daily, for adults. It turns out that eating 5 a day is good, but having 10 a day is better and shows major benefit in reducing the chance of heart attack, stroke, cancer and early death.
WHAT DID THE STUDY FIND?
As reported in the International Journal of Epidemiology, the researchers analyzed data from 95 studies, involving close to 2 million participants. They studied 112,000 cancer cases, 43,000 cases of heart disease, 47,000 cases of stroke, 81,000 cases of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and 94,000 deaths.
When the amount of fruit and vegetables eaten was increased to 800g per day (i.e. 10 portions), the risk reductions were 13% for cancer, 24% for heart disease, 33% for stroke, 28% for cardiovascular disease and 31% for premature death. This risk was calculated in comparison to not eating any fruit and vegetables.
The study found that apples, pears, citrus fruits, cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli and cabbage) and green leafy vegetables (such as chicory and spinach) were best for reducing the risk of stroke, CVD, heart disease, and premature death. The intake of green vegetables, yellow vegetables and cruciferous vegetables were best for reducing cancer risk.
Overall, the researchers believe their findings highlight the importance of fruit and vegetables as part of a healthy diet. Dr. Dagfinn Aune, lead author of the research, explained: “We wanted to investigate how much fruit and vegetables you need to eat to gain the maximum protection against disease, and premature death. Our results suggest that although five portions of fruit and vegetables is good, ten a day is even better.”
HOW MUCH IS ONE PORTION?
A portion of fruit and vegetables equals 80g, which is approximately:
- 1 banana
- 1 apple
- 1 pear
- 1 large mandarin
- 2 plums
- 2 kiwis
- 1 cup of berries
- 3 heaped tablespoons of cooked vegetables such as spinach or peas
- 2 spears of broccoli
- 1 tomato
- 8 cauliflower florets
- a dessert bowl of salad
EASY WAYS TO INCREASE FRUIT AND VEG INTAKE
- For snacks, instead of a muffin or piece of cake, have an apple or orange. Or try carrot/ celery sticks with hummus.
- Add berries or sliced kiwi to your chia seed pudding or Greek yogurt.
- Include tomato, avocado and lettuce in your sandwich or burger.
- For lunch and dinner, strive to eat your vegetables first.
- Add a banana or strawberries to your smoothie or protein shake.
- Add a side salad to your lunch or dinner.
- Order a side of leafy greens.
Dr. Ardyce Yik ND is trained in nutritional therapy. She uses nutrition to treat and prevent illness. In addition, she helps countless adults and children eat according to their body constitution (traditional Chinese medicine method). For nutritional planning or natural solutions to your health issues, contact Dr. Yik today.