You’ve probably heard that you need to eat your fruits and veggies ever since you were a child. You have always known they are a healthy way to get your vitamins and minerals. As you got older, you also started to realize that a diet high in fruits and veggies is one of the best ways to stave off disease and chronic illness.
Most research has shown that increased consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with a decreased chance of developing a whole host of chronic diseases, like diabetes, cancer, dementia and even heart disease.
When More is Truly Better
High concentrations of vitamins and minerals can reduce free radical damage, improve immunity and control inflammation. Higher amounts of fiber found in fruits and vegetables can also reduce the risk of chronic disease.
New research by Harvard Medical School has found fruits and vegetables also provide benefits that haven’t been documented as well, until now.
The study was a meta-analysis to determine if there was a relationship between the number of servings of fruits and vegetables and disease reduction or chronic disease mortality.
Lead researcher, Dr. Frank Hu, found there is a clear dose-response relationship between the degree of disease reduction that can be attributed to the intake of fruits and vegetables. Study participants were given up to five servings per day.
Go Rainbow Bright for Disease-Fighting Power
The study also pointed out that the intake of this food group was critical to the outcome being so positive. Of the studies that looked at mortality from any cause, the people who ate at least one serving per day had an eight percent risk reduction. Those who consumed five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily experienced a risk reduction of 26% dying from any cause.
When analyzing the risk of death from heart disease, the more fruit or vegetables consumed was directly associated with a four percent reduction in risk of dying from heart disease.
Researchers say the full analysis provides further evidence that higher consumption of fruits and vegetables comes with a lower risk of mortality from all causes, particularly from cardiovascular diseases. Reason enough for me to load my plate with fruits and vegetables!
Are You Eating Enough?
The recommended intake of four to five servings per day is considered enough if you are looking to prevent disease and chronic illness.
People who follow this tend to be healthier with fewer health problems overall. They are less likely to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. They also tend to be non-smokers and be more physically active.
Consuming more fruits and vegetables now takes on a whole new meaning as this strategy can reduce the risk of dying prematurely from various chronic diseases—and it really is a simple lifestyle change.
It’s common knowledge in the medical community that eating fruit specifically gives a greater degree of protection from the development of chronic disease. But regardless of the idea that fruit is slightly higher in vitamins and minerals, I recommend you consume liberal amounts of both fruits and vegetables on a daily basis.
Wang, X., et al., “Fruit and vegetable consumption and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies,” BMJ, 2014; 349 (jul29 3): g4490 doi: 10.1136/bmj.g4490.