|Why you Should Double your Fruit & Veg Intake
Five portions of fruit and veg a day is the
recommended amount in many national guidelines, with some countries increasing
this amount to five veg and two fruit portions in a 24 hour period. According
to a new study led by Imperial College London, however, doubling the
recommended minimum to 10 portions could have a significant effect on reducing
heart disease and cancer. While five-a-day helps to reduce disease risk and is
a great first step, 7.8 million premature deaths could be prevented worldwide
each year if we double the amount of fruit and veg in our diet.
In order to make their new recommendations,
researchers from Imperial College London analysed data from 95 independent
studies concerning fruit and vegetable intake. Not only did the study correlate
daily intake amounts with reduced risk factors, it also analysed which fruits
and vegetables posed the most significant health benefits. While any fruit and
veg intake is good, the greatest benefit came from eating 800g a day, or 10
portions of 80g each.
According to Dr Dagfinn Aune, lead author
of the research from the School of Public Health at Imperial, “We wanted to
investigate how much fruit and vegetables you need to eat to gain the maximum
protection against disease, and premature death. Our results suggest that
although five portions of fruit and vegetables is good, 10 a day is even
In the study, consuming 10 portions of
fruit and veg a day was associated with a 24 percent reduced risk of heart
disease, a 33 percent lower risk of stroke, and a 28 percent reduced risk of
cardiovascular disease. In addition, 10 daily portions of fruit and veg was
also responsible for a 13 percent reduced risk of cancer, and a 31 percent reduction
in the risk of premature death. If you're only currently eating three or four
portions a day, the best advice is to change your diet and increase your fruit
and veg intake.
It's important not to despair or feel
guilty, however, with even 200g a day, or 1/4 the recommended amount,
associated with some very good news. If you can manage just 2 1/2 standard 80g
portions a day, you will experience a 16 percent reduced risk of heart disease,
an 18 percent reduced risk of stroke, a 13 percent reduced risk of
cardiovascular disease, a 4 percent reduced risk of cancer, and a 15 percent
reduction in the risk of premature death.
As it turns out, not all fruits and
vegetables are created equal when it comes to their nutritional benefits.
Luckily for most, some of the tastiest and most popular fruits are also the
most advantageous for preventing heart disease and stroke, including apples,
pears, and citrus fruits. Salads and green leafy vegetables like spinach also
scored high on the list, as did dinner time favourites such as broccoli and
cauliflower. When it comes to reducing
the risk of cancer, green, yellow, and orange vegetables such as carrots are
the most effective.
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