Unless you’re a rabbit or follow a vegan diet, you probably aren’t eating as many servings of fruits and vegetables as you should be.
Five servings? Double it.
"...approximately 7.8 million premature deaths could be prevented worldwide."
Research compiled by Imperial College London, which amassed data from 95 existing studies on fruit and vegetable consumption, suggests that increasing the previously recommended amount from 400g to 800g per day may reduce the risk of disease and premature death. If people consumed 800g of fruits and vegetables per day, the equivalent of 10 80g servings, approximately 7.8 million premature deaths could be prevented worldwide. Additionally, 10 portions a day was linked with a decrease of 24% in the risk of heart disease, 33% risk of stroke, 28% risk of cardiovascular disease, and 13% risk of total cancer in comparison to not eating any fruits or vegetables.
What does that look like?
Adding extra lettuce to your sandwich at lunch or choosing the side salad instead of fries isn’t going to cut it, so what does 800g of fruits and vegetables look like? A typical serving of fruit is the equivalent of a medium-sized apple, according to the American Heart Association. For vegetables, a fist-sized amount of raw, leafy vegetable such as kale or spinach is equal to a serving. This does not mean that scarfing down 10 apples a day will keep the doctor away or lead to a longer, healthier life; without variety, the full nutritional benefits of 800g of fruits and vegetables cannot be reaped. Adding two extra servings of different fruits or vegetables to three meals a day and consuming two-serving fruit or vegetable snacks twice daily will make reaching the 10 serving goal almost effortless.
What to Eat
To make things even easier, researchers also determined what variety of fruits and vegetables are more likely to help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and premature death. These include:
Research provided by: Imperial College London
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