By now, you know about the huge health benefits of eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Rich in essential nutrients, previous research shows fruits and veggies help promote mental well-being, control weight, improve digestion and vision, lower blood pressure and more. But how much is enough?The latest U.S. dietary guidelines for fruits and vegetables suggest consumers eat 2-1/2 to 6-1/2 cups per day—or about 5-13 servings—depending on calorie requirements. Yet, Americans get a paltry three servings per day on average.Now, according to a new study from the University College London, you need to eat 7 or more daily servings of fresh fruits and vegetables if you want to live longer. Using the Health Survey for England, British researchers analyzed the eating habits of 65,226 adults, age 35 and older. They discovered that the more fruits and vegetables they ate, the lower their chance of dying prematurely. In fact, compared to those eating less than one serving of fruit or vegetables, the risk of death by any cause was reduced by 14% when eating one to three servings…29% for three to five servings…36% for five to seven servings…and 42% for seven or more. “We all know that eating fruit and vegetables is healthy, but the size of the effect is staggering,” says Dr. Oyinlola Oyebode of UCL's Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, lead author of the study. “The clear message here is that the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the less likely you are to die at any age.” The study showed that fresh vegetables offered far greater longevity benefits than fruits. In fact, a single daily portion of veggies reduced the overall risk of death by 16%, compared to 4% for fruit. Indeed, this may explain why the Okinawans of Japan boast more centenarians per capita than anywhere else on earth. Oyebode agreed, stating that “vegetables had a greater protective effect on health than fruit.” Likely due to the toxic effect of the high sugar content of fruit and one reason we at Beyond Health remain adamant about limiting your fruit intake to no more than two servings per day. It’s important to keep in mind, these health benefits applied only to fresh fruits and vegetables. For example, researchers found study subjects got no significant benefit from fruit juice. And, canned and frozen fruit actually increased risk of death by 17% for each portion consumed. Again, no surprise here. We’ve said before how—whether heating, adding harmful chemicals, and more—processing foods destroys nutrients and creates a toxic effect in the body. Yet, if you think all fresh fruits and vegetables are safe…think again. It’s important you buy raw, organic produce from a local farmer’s market whenever possible. Or, consider growing your own fresh produce right at home. Care to tell us below how many servings of veggies you average per day? References:
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