When researchers took a look at the diets of more than 65,000 people in England over a period of more than 10 years, they found that one group of people reduced their risk of dying by 42 percent at any point in time. Eat what these people eat and you might live longer, too.
The study showed that eating seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily (with an emphasis on the vegetables) significantly reduced the risk of death during the study. Eating that many fruits and vegetables reduced the risk of death by cancer by 25 percent and death by heart disease by 31 percent.
“We all know that eating fruit and vegetables is healthy, but the size of the effect is staggering,” says researcher Oyinlola Oyebode. “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. If you’re happy to snack on carrots or other vegetables, then that is a great choice but if you fancy something sweeter, a banana or any fruit will also do you good.”
Among the people studied, those who ate one to three portions of fruits and vegetables daily dropped their death risk by 14 percent compared to others who ate less than a portion a day. Folks consuming three to five daily portions reduced their risk by 29 percent. Eating five to seven servings a day made people 36 percent safer.
“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,” says Oyebode.