Vegetables make you live longer! At least that’s the result of a British study that was recently published in a renowned journal. The lifestyle and diet of over 65,000 people were examined. Those who enjoyed eating fresh fruit and vegetables were significantly less likely to die from cancer, heart disease, or other causes.
Fruits and Vegetables: Five servings are good, and seven servings are better
Nutritionists have been preaching the health-promoting properties of fruit and vegetables for decades. It is said that five portions per day are ideal in order to be adequately supplied with antioxidants, fiber, and many vitamins.
But what is a portion? Quite simply: around 80 grams. For example, a small apple or two medium-sized carrots.
It is best to weigh a few types of fruit and vegetables. And you’ll see that it’s not very much if you eat a portion like that five times a day.
Yes, you will probably eat two portions at breakfast (e.g. a banana and an apple in your muesli). Then another portion follows as a snack in the morning (e.g. ½ a cucumber with a wholemeal roll). And for lunch, there are two more servings (160 grams of vegetables of your choice). You already have the five portions together.
But you might eat more veggies for lunch, have a green smoothie in the afternoon, and have a veggie soup or slice of veggie pizza for dinner. Then you are already on at least seven or more servings of fruit and vegetables.
And it is precisely those people who eat seven servings (just over 500 grams) of fruit and vegetables per day that live longer than fruit and vegetable haters, British scientists from the Department of Epidemiology & Public Health at University College London recently found out.
Live longer with more fruits and vegetables
In other words, the risk of death (from all causes) was reduced by 40 percent just by eating seven servings of fruit and vegetables per day compared to those who ate one or less than one serving of fruit and vegetables per day.
For the said study, the scientists involved interviewed 65,226 people over the age of 35 from the British population and followed them from 2001 to 2013.
Fruit and vegetable haters die earlier
While abstainers from fruit and vegetables died in relatively large numbers from a wide variety of causes (in all age groups), the more fruit and vegetables the individual ate, the more the risk of death was reduced.
For example, with seven portions of fruit and vegetables, the specific risk of dying from cancer was reduced by 25 percent and the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 31 percent.
Vegetables are better than fruit
The researchers reported that vegetables appear to be significantly more effective and healthier than fruits in terms of prolonging life.
Eating two to three servings of vegetables a day reduced the risk of death by 19 percent. On the other hand, if you ate the same amount of fruit, the risk of death decreased by only 10 percent.
In addition, it is fresh and as natural as possible fruits and vegetables that are able to extend human lifespans.
Canned fruit shortens life
However, canned fruit or store-bought fruit juices did not have a positive effect on health. On the contrary. Those who preferred to eat these highly processed, high-sugar, and low-fiber products rather than fresh foods increased their risk of death by as much as 17 percent.
Three servings of fruit and vegetables are good
The study shows that people who eat seven servings of fruit and veg a day have amazing health benefits compared to those who hate fruit and veg, according to study author Dr. Oyinlola Oyebode.
But Oyebode also reassures those who think they will never be able to eat seven portions of fruit and vegetables a day. “Even as few as three servings of fruit and vegetables per day resulted in a significantly lower risk of death in our study.”
But seven portions of fruit and vegetables are not that much, namely only about 560 grams.
Just prepare the fruits and vegetables that you want to eat during the day in the morning. That way, you don’t have to constantly think about whether or not you’ve already eaten enough fruit and vegetables.
Does your body know what it needs?
Also, don’t let the “my-body-knows-what-it-needs” crowd irritate you. This namely proclaims again and again that one should not just stick to any nutritional rules.
On the other hand, it is ideal to eat what you feel like because the body knows very well what is good for it and what is not.
Well, basically we are surrounded by people who live by this motto.
They crave hot dogs, sandwiches, chips, candy bars, cakes, etc., and of course, they eat all of them, believing that their bodies are calling for all of these things.
Quite a few of them don’t feel well at all, are overweight, although they definitely don’t want to be, and suffer from a wide variety of ailments.
This is because our bodies no longer know what they need or their signals are completely misunderstood by us.
We eat what we know and what we are used to from childhood. But that’s not always a good thing. And it’s certainly not what our bodies need.
It is therefore first of all a matter of slowly remembering what is really healthy and what the body really needs with the help of nutritional guidelines. Only then can the communication between the body and mind function.
So go step by step! Skipping a step would only result in stumbling.