Do you remember your mother telling you to eat your vegetables? It turns out that was pretty good advice. A recent article in Forbes Magazine reported on an extensive dietary study in England. Study subjects who reported consuming more fruit and vegetables each day were less likely to die of any cause. Instead of saying that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, maybe we should say that fruits and vegetables keep death away!
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Will eating more produce help you live longer?
Nobody can guarantee that consuming more fruit and vegetables will keep you from getting run over by a bus, but the results of the British study even surprised doctors and nutrition experts:
- The study followed 65,000 British people for over seven years.
- During that time, 4,400 of those people died from a variety of causes.
- People who reported eating seven or more servings of fruit and vegetables a day had a 42 percent lower chance of dying from any cause than people who reported eating less than one serving.
Even more exciting, people who ate at least seven servings a day had a reduced risk of dying from cancer of 25 percent and heart disease of 32 percent. Of course, not everybody in the study either ate no produce or over seven servings each day. Even eating one to three servings a day helped reduce mortality, and three to five servings was better than eating one or two.
You might assume that people who eat a lot of produce also take care of their health in other ways, and that might very well be true. But, these results still remained consistent even when adjusting for other risk factors like smoking or being overweight. Of course, living a healthy lifestyle helps, but consuming more fresh produce also helps.
The most interesting thing is that frozen and canned fruit actually tended to increase mortality somewhat. The researchers wondered if the real villain might be processed sugar and other ingredients that get added to prepared or processed food. Perhaps people who tend to consume a lot of unprocessed fruit and vegetables stay away from bad food.
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