Fruits and vegetables as a recent study has shown that we must double the number if we want to reduce the chances of diseases significantly.
The study was led by scientists from Iimperial college London. They analysed 95 studies on their fruit and vegetable intake. They found that although even the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day reduced disease risk, the greatest benefit came from eating 800g a day (roughly equivalent to ten portions – one portion of fruit or vegetables if defined as 80g).
Dr Dagffin Aune lead author of the research from the School of Public Health at Imperial explained: “We wanted to investigate how much fruit and vegetables you need to eat to gain the maximum protection against disease, and premature death. Our results suggest that although five portions of fruit and vegetables is good, ten a day is even better.
The results revealed that a daily intake of 200g was associated with a 16 per cent reduced risk of heart disease, an 18 per cent reduced risk of stroke, a 13 per cent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, a 4 per cent reduced risk of cancer and a 15 per cent reduction in the risk of premature death.
When the portion was increased to 800g, a dramatic difference was observed in the benefits. Reduction of the risk of heart diseases rose to 24 per cent; for strokes, it rose to 33 per cent; for cardiovascular diseases, it rose to 28 per cent; for cancer, it more than tripled to reach 13 per cent and for premature death, it more than doubled to reach 31 per cent.
The study estimated that around 7.8 million premature deaths could be potentially prevented annually worldwide if people ate 10 portions, or 800 g, of fruit and vegetables a day.
Dr Aune said that several potential mechanisms could explain why fruit and vegetables have such profound health benefits: “Fruit and vegetables have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and to boost the health of our blood vessels and immune system. This may be due to the complex network of nutrients they hold. For instance they contain many antioxidants, which may reduce DNA damage, and lead to a reduction in cancer risk.”