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Consuming more fruits and vegetables is better for your health. Here's how.

Consuming more fruits and vegetables is better for your health. Here's how.

Credit: Anna Pelzer

Eating fruits and vegetables is good for your health, particularly for heart health and related diseases. Doctors and healthcare professionals recommend it all the time and you always hear about getting your portions of fruits and vegetables every day for optimal health.

There are approximately 7.8 million deaths world-wide which could be prevented from eating more fruits and vegetables.

But how much is more?

No previous study or analysis has established a link between the amount of fruit and vegetables needed for better health and the effects of specific fruits and vegetables on Health until now.

A meta-analysis was undertaken by researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and Imperial College London. This study is by far the largest study on this topic and included the analysis of 142 publications from 95 different population studies found on PubMed and Embase database.

For every 200 grams increase in consumption of fruits and vegetables up to an intake of 800 grams, the risk of heart disease, strokes and premature death is decreased by 10.8 per cent.

The researchers studied the association between fruit and vegetable intake and cardio-vascular disease, total cancer and all-cause mortality. Each analysis included information on several hundred thousand people.

The study showed that the risk of dying prematurely from all causes was reduced by a third and the risk of cardio-vascular disease was reduced by a quarter in people who ate 800 grams of fruit and vegetables every day, compared to those who ate very little or none at all.

The study also calculated how many premature deaths can be prevented if daily consumption of fruits and vegetables is increased. If everyone ate 500 grams of fruits and vegetables a day the figure would drop to 5.4 million deaths compared to 7.8 million every year.

The researchers said that two to four million deaths related to cardio-vascular disease could be prevented if everyone ate the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables while 660,000 deaths from cancer can also be prevented.

This analysis was the first to examine the types of fruits and vegetables which are connected to reduced risk of various diseases and premature death.

Apples and pears, citrus fruit, fruit juice, green leafy vegetables and fruits and vegetables, rich in vitamin C were among the types of fruit and vegetables associated with reduced risk of cardio-vascular disease and premature death.

Fruits and vegetables contain fiber, vitamin C, antioxidants, potassium and flavonoids, all of it is good for health. A high intake of fiber can help lower cholesterol, blood pressure and inflammation in the body, while improving blood vessel function. It also prevents people from becoming overweight and obese.

Antioxidants can prevent free radicals and other reactive oxygen species from damaging the body’s genetics.

Fruits and vegetables are also good for the bacteria in the intestines.

The analysis also revealed that canned fruits had the opposite effect on health and was linked to increased risk of cardio-vascular disease and premature death.

Health authorities recommend eating at least 500 grams of fruits and vegetable every day to derive the benefits to our health. According to the new research if you eat more fruits and vegetables you can reduce your risk of disease and premature death even more.

This study is even more significant for those who consume very little fruit and vegetables in their diet or none at all. By introducing and increasing your daily intake of fresh fruits and vegetables you are doing a world of good for your health and wellbeing.

Source: International Journal of Epidemiology


Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!