How to Lower Risk of Death by More Than 40%

Eating seven or more daily portions of fruits & vegetables in their natural form dramatically increases natural lifespan

fruits-vegetablesThis article originally appeared on Live in the Now.

Nutrition scientists have been promoting the effects of a diet filled with fruits and vegetables in their natural form for the better part of the last two decades, touting the plethora of protective flavonoids and fiber provided by these natural wonders.

Most people would be impressed by the latest research showing that eating just seven daily portions of fruits and vegetables is enough to slash the risk of all-cause mortality by more than forty percent as compared to those eating one serving a day. While this is an impressive figure, it would be interesting to determine the protective effect of eating ten to twelve daily portions as recommended by many alternative nutritional practitioners.

A research team from the University College London, reviewing the eating habits of 65,226 people representative of the English population between 2001 and 2013, found that the more fruit and vegetables eaten, the less likely they were to die at any age. Publishing the results of their work in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, the team determined that eating seven or more portions reduces the specific risks of death from cancer and heart disease by 25 percent and 31 percent, respectively. Interestingly, the research also showed that vegetables have significantly higher health benefits than fruit.

To conduct their study, the team analyzed lifestyle data from annual national health surveys for England between 2001 and 2008. The data of more than 65,000 randomly selected people aged 35 and over were evaluated for the study. During the study period, respondents reported eating just under four portions of fruit and vegetables the previous day. Over the course of the study, 4,399 of the tracked people (6.7 percent of the sample) had died.

Vegetables offered more protective benefits than fruit. Eating two to three portions of vegetables a day was linked with 19 percent lower risk of death, while an equivalent intake of fruit only provided a 10 percent lower risk of death. Lead study author, Dr Oyinlola Oyebode commented, “We all know that eating fruit and vegetables is healthy, but the size of the effect is staggering… the clear message here is that the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the less likely you are to die at any age. Vegetables have a larger effect than fruit, but fruit still makes a real difference.”

As an aside, this research demonstrated that not only was there no health benefit to consuming fruit juices or canned fruits, these processed product actually led to alarming 17 percent increase in overall mortality, likely due to the excessive amounts of added sugars not bound to fiber as nature intended. Dr. Oyebode concluded, “Our study shows that people following Australia’s ‘Go for 2 + 5’ advice will reap huge health benefits…. however, people shouldn’t feel daunted by a big target like seven. Whatever your starting point, it is always worth eating more fruit and vegetables. In our study even those eating one to three portions had a significantly lower risk than those eating less than one.”

This study confirms previously documented evidence that a natural food diet, limiting sugar and fried foods can significantly increase normal lifespan in humans.

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