The World Health Organization recommends eating at least 400 grams of fruits and vegetables each day, but research suggests that doubling your daily intake is even better. A study conducted over the span of 10 years found that those who consumed as much as 800 grams of fruits and vegetables in a day significantly reduced their risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer.
“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 better,” said Dr Dagfinn Aune.
This doubled up portion was associated with a 24% reduced risk of heart disease, a 33% reduced risk of stroke, a 28% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, a 13% reduced risk of total cancer, and a 31% reduction in premature deaths.
“Fruit and vegetables have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and to boost the health of our blood vessels and immune system,” said Aune. “This may be due to the complex network of nutrients they hold. For instance, they contain many antioxidants, which may reduce DNA damage, and lead to a reduction in cancer risk.”
What Does 800g of Fruits & Vegetables Look Like?
One portion is defined as 80g, so in a day, 10 portions could be represented by:
- 2 kiwi fruits
- 1 apple
- 1 pear
- ½ grapefruit
- 8 cauliflower florets
- 1 cup of orange juice
- 3 tablespoons of peas
- 2 broccoli spears
- 1 tomato
- 1 banana
Eating a piece of fruit with breakfast or adding an extra scoop of vegetables at dinner is a good place to start. Even consuming half the recommended daily portion of fruits and vegetables can help present disease.
Sarah Toule, from the World Cancer Research Fund, said: “This interesting research shows just how incredibly important vegetables and fruit are as part of a healthy diet. People should aim to eat at least five portions of vegetables and fruit a day but the more the better.”
Types of Food That Reduce Health Risks
Not all fruits and vegetables have the same benefits. Fruits like apples, pears and grapefruit and vegetables like cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower are best for preventing heart disease and stroke. While veggies like green and yellow beans, yellow and orange peppers and carrots are said to reduce the risk of cancer. Researchers did not find any difference in the protective effects of cooked versus raw vegetables and fruit which means that you can enjoy them however you choose.
How do you make sure to get in your daily amount of fruits and vegetables? We’d love for you to share your thoughts with us in the comments!