According to a new study published yesterday in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, eating seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day—definitely more than you already eat—could decrease your chances of death from any cause by 42% compared to people who consume less than one portion each day. No, this is not an April Fool's joke.
The impressive study from Britain tracked the eating habits of more than 65,000 people for 12 years and found that seven or more portions of vegetables and fruits per day dropped the risk of dying from cancer by 25% and from cardiovascular disease by 31%. The researchers also found that canned and frozen fruit increased the risk of dying from any cause by 17%.
Even if you're not game to pack that much greenery onto your plate, the researchers found that those who had a little less still reaped some benefits, compared to people who only ate one portion a day. Participants who ate 1-3 servings of fruits and vegetables per day reduced mortality risk by 14%; people who ate 3-5 servings per day were 29% less likely to die, and people who ate 5-7 servings had a 35% lower risk of death.
Vegetables came out the big winner of the study: Scientists found that each additional serving of vegetables was linked to a 16% reduction in mortality, as opposed to 10% for fruits. And while everyone has a 100% chance of dying eventually, staving off the reaper with something as natural as fruits and veggies is certainly appealing.
"The clear message here is that the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the less likely you are to die at any age," said study author Dr. Oyinlola Oyebode. "My advice would be however much you are eating now, eat more."
Vegetables: so hot right now.