Posted on Apr 25, 2014, 6 a.m.
Eating seven or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day can reduce the risk of dying by an impressive 42%.
New research has shown that the more fruit and vegetables a person ate each day, the less likely they were to die at any age. Dr Oyinlola Oyebode of University College London’s Department of Epidemiology & Public Health (England, UK) and colleagues analysed data from 65,226 people who took part in the Health Survey for England between 2001 and 2013 in order to evaluate the effect of eating habits on mortality risk. After adjustment for sex, age, cigarette smoking, social class, Body Mass Index, education, physical activity, and alcohol intake, results showed that eating 7 or more portions reduced the risk of dying from cancer by 25% and the risk of dying from heart disease by 31%. Compared to eating less than 1 portion of fruit and vegetables, the risk of death from any cause was reduced by 14% by eating 1 to 3 portions, 29% for 3 to 5 portions, 36% for 5 to 7 portions and 42% for 7 or more. The research also showed that vegetables have significantly better health benefits than fruit. "The clear message here is that the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the less likely you are to die at any age. Vegetables have a larger effect than fruit, but fruit still makes a real difference. If you're happy to snack on carrots or other vegetables, then that is a great choice but if you fancy something sweeter, a banana or any fruit will also do you good," said Dr Oyebode.
Oyebode O, Gordon-Dseagu V, Walker A, Mindell JS. Fruit and vegetable consumption and all-cause, cancer and CVD mortality: analysis of Health Survey for England data. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2014, March 31. [Epub ahead of print].