Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Helping You Get 7-a-Day

Eating seven or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day reduces your risk of death at any point in time by 42% compared to eating less than one portion, according to a new study from Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

Eating seven or more portions reduces the specific risks of death by cancer and heart disease by 25% and 31% respectively. The research also showed that vegetables have significantly higher health benefits than fruit.

This is the first study to link fruit and vegetable consumption with all-cause, cancer and heart disease deaths in a nationally-representative population, the first to quantify health benefits per-portion, and the first to identify the types of fruit and vegetable with the most benefit.

Compared to eating less than one portion of fruit and vegetables, the risk of death by any cause is reduced by 14% by eating one to three portions, 29% for three to five portions, 36% for five to seven portions and 42% for seven or more.

Fresh vegetables had the strongest protective effect, with each daily portion reducing overall risk of death by 16%. Salad contributed to a 13% risk reduction per portion, and each portion of fresh fruit was associated with a smaller but still significant 4% reduction.

There was no benefit from fruit juice.

Bonnie: The recipe is easy: 1 vegetable AND fruit serving with breakfast. 1 vegetable AND fruit serving with lunch. 1 vegetable AND fruit serving with dinner. 1 vegetable serving with a morning or afternoon snack. If you don't snack, just add 1 extra vegetable serving at a meal of your choice.

If you want, have three servings with each meal. Why? A study presented at the American College of Cardiology Annual Meeting followed 18-30 year-old women from the 1980's to the present with the aim of tracking heart health. Women who reported eating eight to nine servings a day of fruits and vegetables were 40 percent less likely to have calcified plaque in their arteries in their 40s, compared with those who ate three to four servings a day.

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