Even if you’re a proud consumer of five servings of fruits and vegetables daily, you’re not getting enough, an extensive British study suggests. And steer clear of the canned stuff. University College London researchers reviewed the diets of 65,000 people; they found that those who ate more fresh fruits and vegetables tended to live longer, and the magic threshold seemed to be seven-plus servings every day. Those who hit that level reduced their risk of death “from all causes” by 42% as compared to those who ate less than one portion daily, the Guardian reports. More specifically, those big on fruits and veggies saw a 31% lower risk of heart disease and a 25% lower risk of cancer.
Hitting five is, of course, still beneficial: Eat three to five portions, and overall risk drops 29%, while five to seven means a 36% lower risk, Time reports. In the US, the standard slogan when it comes to fruits and vegetables is “more matters,” but the best advice is Australia’s, says a researcher; in that country, the advice is “go for 2+5,” or two servings of fruits and five of vegetables.
“From our study it looks like vegetables are better than fruit,” she says.
Be warned: Canned and frozen fruit, the study finds, may actually increase heart disease, stroke, and cancer risk, the Guardian notes. Researchers are cautious about that finding, however, suggesting it could be because canned fruit is often smothered in sugary syrup. (So eat more veggies … but maybe run less.)
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