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Friday, April 11, 2014

7 Servings of Fruit and Vegetables a Day for Better Health?



Artwork by Dr. Murad Abel
We have heard the saying that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Never has this been truer than in today’s world. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health a whopping 7 servings of fruit and vegetables reduces risks of premature death by 42%. Vegetables still trump fruit but both have great benefits and one should do better at incorporating this food into their lives.

The researchers studied data with 65,000 adults over the age of 35 between the years of 2001 and 2008. The survey asked about fruit and vegetable consumption within any particular 24 hour period. Portions were defined as 80 grams or 3 ounces each. The information was compared against mortality data over 8 years to see who is passing away. 

On average participants ate 3.8 servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Those that ate more not only were less likely to die but also had lower BMI. They were better protected against heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. Eating at least 7 servings was beneficial but eating more vegetables seemed to have additional benefits. 

A great portion of fitness relies on what you eat. You can go to the gym everyday and work out like a bandit to raise your health level. However, by changing the types of foods you eat by incorporating more fruits and vegetables, while reducing high carbohydrate foods, you are likely to make the fitness journey much easier. The body will naturally react strongly to a change of diet. 

The hardest part of a healthy diet is ensuring that better alternatives are available when you need them. Buying lots of fruit and putting them in your briefcase is beneficial. Likewise, cooking meals heavy on vegetables is also beneficial. When you are hungry and need to eat something quick make sure you have lots of the healthy stuff sitting around. 

Kypridemos, et. al. (2013). Fruit and vegetable consumption and non-communicable diseas: time to update the ‘five a day’message? J Epidemiol Community Health. Retrieved April 11th, 2014 from http://jech.bmj.com/content/early/2014/03/20/jech-2014-203981.short?g=w_jech_ahead_tab


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