What started as 5 portions, went up to between 6 and 8 portions a day, now we’re being told that we must eat 10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, to cut our risk of early death.
The findings of a study by Imperial College London, confirm that eating 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day is good for you, but eating 10 is much better and could prevent up to 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide, every year.
The finding goes on to say that a daily intake of just 200g, (7 ounces) is associated with a 16% reduced risk of heart disease, an 18% reduced risk of stroke, a 13% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, 4% reduced risk of cancer and a 15% reduction in the risk of premature death.
However, the study found that eating up to 800g of fruit and vegetables (equivalent to 10 portions and double the recommended amount in the UK) was associated with a massive 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.
But not all fruit and veg are equally beneficial. Apples and pears, citrus fruits, salads and green leafy vegetables, such as lettuce, chicory and vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower were found to be best at preventing heart disease and a stroke.
To reduce the risk of cancer, we must also eat a range of green vegetables, such as kale, sprouts and spinach and yellow and orange vegetables such as peppers. Importantly the study did not find any difference between the protective effects of cooked and raw fruit and vegetables.
The study identified that while more research is needed, it is clear a high intake of fruit and vegetables hold potentially significant health benefits and that we should try to increase their intake in our diets.