Study: Eating More Fruits and Vegetables Linked to Longer Life

Eating 5 servings of fruits and veggies daily can significantly increase life expectancy, lowering risks of heart disease, cancer, and respiratory illness, according to a new study.

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Ayesha Mumtaz
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Study: Eating More Fruits and Vegetables Linked to Longer Life

Study: Eating More Fruits and Vegetables Linked to Longer Life

A new study published in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation suggests that eating two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables daily can significantly increase life expectancy. The findings indicate that making certain dietary changes may be more effective than medication in improving health outcomes and promoting longevity.

The study found that consuming five servings of fruits and vegetables per day - specifically two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables - can lower the risk of dying from heart disease by 12%, cancer by 10%, and respiratory disease by 35%, compared to eating just two servings per day. Overall, the researchers observed a 13% reduced risk of death from any cause for those who ate five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

According to the study, leafy greens, citrus fruits, and berries provided the most health benefits, while fruit juices and starchy vegetables like corn, peas, and potatoes were found to be less beneficial. Interestingly, the authors noted that the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables was not affected by whether they were consumed fresh, canned, frozen, or in organic or conventional forms.

Why this matters: This study highlights the significant impact that simple dietary changes can have on overall health and longevity. By providing specific recommendations for fruit and vegetable intake, it empowers individuals to make informed choices about their diet and potentially reduce their risk of chronic diseases.

The study's authors recommend focusing on consuming at least five servings of diverse fruits and vegetables every day to reap the optimal health benefits. "This amount likely offers the most benefit in terms of prevention of major chronic disease and is a relatively achievable intake for the general public," said lead study author Dong Wang, M.D., Sc.D., an epidemiologist and nutritionist at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

While previous research has shown that calorie restriction and intermittent fasting can increase longevity in animals, this study suggests that incorporating more fruits and vegetables into one's diet may be a more practical and sustainable approach for humans. The findings emphasize the importance of a balanced and nutrient-rich diet in promoting health and preventing chronic diseases.

Key Takeaways

  • Eating 2 fruits and 3 veggies daily can increase life expectancy.
  • This diet reduces risk of death from heart disease, cancer, and respiratory disease.
  • Leafy greens, citrus fruits, and berries provide the most health benefits.
  • Fruit/veggie form (fresh, canned, frozen, organic) does not affect nutritional value.
  • This diet is a practical, sustainable approach to promote health and longevity.