Wednesday, January 19, 2011

5-a-Day may not cut it

Five servings a day has been the tenet for fruit and vegetable consumption for years, but new research from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Heart study confirms what we have been saying for a while now: eight servings may be needed to cut the risk of dying from heart disease. The diet and lifestyles of more than 300,000 people across eight countries in Europe found that people who ate at least eight portions of fruits and vegetables a day had a 22% lower risk of dying from heart disease than those who ate three portions a day. Each additional portion in fruits and vegetables was linked to a 4% lower risk of death.

The average intake of fruits and vegetables in the various countries was five servings a day. Spain, Greece, and Italy were the leaders in fruit and vegetable eating. Italian men enjoyed 7.5 portions a day, and Spanish women 6.7 portions. Healthy eating tailed off the further north the researchers looked in Europe. U.K. men managed 4.1 portions a day, and women 4.8 portions. Swedish men and women were the worst, with only 3.5 and 2.9 portions a day.

Bonnie - realistically, if everyone could get their 5-a-Day (which is highly unlikely in the US), we would all be better off. However, 8-a-Day is the now the benchmark which we should all aspire to.

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