Sure, everybody knows eating fruits and vegetables is healthy for your body. It turns out, however, that eating even more fruits and vegetables is truly great for your heart and health.
A study in the International Journal of Epidemiology showed that the more fruits and vegetables a person eats, the lower his risk of heart disease, stroke and premature death.
In all, the researchers concluded that 7.8 million deaths worldwide could be prevented each year if people just ate more fruits and vegetables!
The researchers analyzed data from over 142 publications and 95 different population studies that studied the relationship between consumption of fruits and vegetables, and the subsequent risk of chronic diseases. Overall, over one thousand people were included in the analyses.
They found that for every 200 grams of fruits and vegetables a person eats every day, his risk of heart disease, strokes and premature death decreased by 10.8 per cent. This held through up to eating 800 grams per day.
Also, the impact of eating more fruits and vegetables was the greatest when compared to people who did not eat much fruits and vegetables.
“Eight a Day”
We’ve been told to eat “five a day” of fruits and vegetables for a healthy diet. This comes out to 500 grams a day. This study recommends even more — 800 grams a day.
The researchers also found this positive health correlation held up even after they factor out such variables as physical fitness, smoking, drinking alcohol, eating meat, etc. in the study analyses.
So clearly fruit and vegetables did have a protective effect.
The one shocking part of the study was how many premature deaths could be prevented worldwide if people ate more fruits and vegetables.
According to their data, the researchers found that if everyone ate 500 grams of fruits and vegetables a day, the deaths would drop from 7.8 million to 5.4 million deaths per year.
In addition, two to four millions deaths related to cardiovascular disease could be prevented a year if everyone ate the optimal amount of fruits and vegetables.
Also 660,00 deaths related to cancer could be prevented. It appears eating more fruits and vegetables can help prevent other disease and causes of death as well.
What Kind of Fruits and Vegetables to Eat?
It appeared apples and pears, citrus fruit, fruit juice, green leafy vegetables and fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C were linked to the health benefits.
Canned fruits, to the contrary, were linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death.
Fruits and vegetables are great for your body because they contain fiber, vitamin C, antioxidants, potassium and flavonoids, all of which have been directly linked to good health.
The researchers also concluded that just eating supplements that contain these nutrients did not have the same beneficial effects.
It’s the “total package” of the fruits and vegetables that give these beneficial effects.
So next time you are at the grocery store, load up on those fruits and vegetables!
Fruit and vegetable intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer and all-cause mortality-a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. Dagfinn Aune et al. International Journal of Epidemiology. https://academic.oup.com/ije/article/doi/10.1093/ije/dyw319/3039477/Fruit-and-vegetable-intake-and-the-risk-of