The more fruits and vegetables a person eats, the lower his or her risk of heart disease, stroke and premature death.
You’ve heard it a thousand times, that little catchphrase with the magic number encouraging you to eat “five a day” of fruits and vegetables for better health. But it turns out that the real magic number is eight, according to a new comprehensive study just published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.
The study, spearheaded by Dagfinn Aune, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and Imperial College London, shows that 7.8 million deaths worldwide could be prevented each year if people ate more fruits and vegetables. Aune says the more you eat, the lower the overall risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and premature death.
The study shows that the risk of dying prematurely from all causes was reduced by almost a third, and the risk of cardiovascular disease by about a quarter in people who ate 800 grams of fruit and vegetables every day, compared with those who ate very little or no fruits and vegetables.
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“The risk of heart disease, strokes and premature death decreased by 10.8 per cent for each 200 gram increase in consumption of fruit or vegetables–up to an intake of 800 grams,” Aune said.
He stressed that the greatest impact from increasing a person’s daily intake of fruit and vegetables appears to be in people do not eat fruit and vegetables at all, or who eat very little of them. But there were also benefits from additional increases in fruit and vegetable consumption for people whose diets already include some fruit and vegetables.