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April 30, 2014

Seven is Your Goal: Fruits and Vegetables Servings Daily

Got Fruits and Vegetables?

We all know that we need to eats fruits and vegetables, but how many servings of each should we eat daily? In the past there have been recommendations as to the number of daily servings for fruits and vegetables, but those recommendations were not necessarily based on a lot of science. But a long-term study between 2001 and 2013 involving 65,226 individuals appears to have answered how many servings of fruits and vegetables are needed to be healthy. That number is seven. Yes, seven. The study involved participants in the Health Survey for England was published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 3/31/14.

Fruits and Vegetables and Mortality

Vegetables have greater health benefits than fruits, too. So you want to eat more of them relative to fruit servings. The study showed that the risk of dying is 42% lower by eating at least seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day compared to less than a one portion. The reduction in heart disease is 31% and reduction in cancer is 25% by eating seven portions daily of fruits and vegetables.

What if you eat less than seven portions a day? Well, you still benefit compare to eating one or less portions of fruits and vegetables. The risk of dying is reduced by 14% by eating one to three portions a day, 29% by eating three to five portions a day, and 36% for eating five to seven portions a day.

So it’s pretty much up to you –  how much would you like to reduce your mortality rate?

Fruit Juices

What about juices? Do they count or help? Nope. There was no benefit in the study from fruit juice which is loaded with sugar. In fact, fruit juice and canned and frozen fruit increased the risk of death by 17% per portion. Canned fruit contains additional sugar from the syrup.

Take home message. Eat at least seven portions of fruits and vegetables focusing more on vegetables. But, avoid fruit juices and canned and frozen fruits unless you wish to die prematurely in which case you should add stress, smoking, and TV viewing.

 

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Dr. Joe Jacko


Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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