Stand aside, measly two or three: Eating seven or more servings of fruit and vegetables a day may reduce the risk of death by any health-related cause by 42 percent, according to a new study.
“We all know that eating fruit and vegetables is healthy, but the size of the effect is staggering,” said Dr. Oyinlola Oyebode, the study’s lead author. “The clear message here is that the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the less likely you are to die at any age.”
Researchers at the University College of London surveyed the eating habits of more than 65,000 people between 2001 and 2003. Science Daily reports the study is the first to directly associate fruits and vegetables with all-cause, cancer and heart disease deaths in a nationally-representative population.
Vegetables were found to have a stronger protective effect than fruit. Canned or frozen fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, were found to increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer.
The USDA suggests that eating at least two and a half cups of vegetables and fruits per day could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer . But most Americans average just over one and a half servings of vegetables a day, and eat more than the recommend amounts of meats and added sugars.