Five fruit and vegetables a day has been the recommend guidelines for a healthy and sustainable life for as long as we can remember. Just when you’ve calculated your fruit from breakfast, dissected the portions from a smoothie, totalled the carrots on your plate for tea and managed to sneak in an extra apple before bed, a new study has indicated adding an extra two pieces of fruit and vegetables to the daily recommendation could prolong life.
The health benefits of fruit and vegetables had seemed to reach their peak yet their substantial supply of varying nutrients and vitamins have once again proved their worth. The findings come from a study of 65,226 men and women and suggests that eating seven pieces of fruit and veg a day could cut the chances of passing away from cancer and heart conditions, prolonging life expectancy.
The general consensus is that the more fruit the better, for improving the likelihood of a longer life.
The study ran course through use of the National Health Survey, which looks at the diet and lifestyle of people in England through questionnaires and nurse visits. The University College London analysed the data between 2001 and 2008, focusing on general mortality as well as cancer, heart issues and strokes. They found that increased fruit and veg consumption lead to an increase in the likelihood of living longer.
In specific, seven or more portions of fruit a day led to a 42% increase in the likelihood of prolonged life. Fresh vegetables had the strongest protective effect, followed by salad and fruit. Other findings identified that fruit juice carried zero benefits, while canned fruit in syrup also paid little benefit.
The potentially life saving characteristics of vegetables lie in their rich amount of antioxidants, which repair cells. Both fruit and vegetables also contain micro-nutrients, fibre, natural sugars, vitamins and minerals, which are all good for your health.
It is considered that the participants who had high levels of fruit and veg intake also had healthier lives in general, which pays evidence to the suggestion of a prolonged life. In conclusion the government have still stuck to their ‘5 a day’ policy yet more research continues to support the theory of the more fruit and vegetables a day the better, up to around ten portions.
In Australia, the government’s advice states ‘two plus five’ a day, which encourages people to eat two helpings of fruit plus five portions of vegetables. Some days it could be only realistic to consume one portion of fruit due to lifestyle, yet on others it could be possible to have more than five.
The underlining message is to get a good variety of fruit and veg each day. The realistic target remains at five, although Public Health England are trying to make it easier to get hold of affordable, high quality fruit and veg so the UK can up their intake. Some of the best vegetables to consider are broccoli, asparagus, sprouts, spinach, tomatoes, sweet potato, onions and kale. When it comes to fruit, try to snack on blueberries, oranges, bananas, grapes, strawberries, advocates, cherries and apples.
If you had to pick seven fruit and vegetables to eat each day, what would you choose?