Fruit And Veg Will Keep The Doctor Away But Five Portions A Day Is Enough

Organic fruit and vegetables at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne. Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Eating fruit and veg every day reduces the risk of death from all causes, and the benefits build up with each additional portion, according to a study in the British journal BMJ.

But improvements in health stop increasing once you reach five portions-a-day, say Chinese and US scientists who looked at the results of sixteen separate studies involving a total of 833,234 people.

These results conflict with a recent study published in BMJ’s Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health suggesting that seven or more daily portions of fruits and vegetables were linked to lowest risk of death.

There is growing evidence that increasing fruit and vegetable consumption is related to a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. However, the results are not entirely consistent.

So a team of researchers decided to examine the association between fruit and vegetable intake and risk of all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer deaths.

They found that the average risk of death from all causes was reduced by 5% for each additional daily serving of fruit and vegetables, while risk of cardiovascular death was reduced by 4% for each serve.

But the researchers identified a threshold around five servings per day, after which the risk of death did not reduce further.

In contrast, higher consumption of fruit and vegetables was not appreciably associated with risk of death from cancer.

The researchers suggest that, as well as advice to eat adequate amounts of fruit and vegetables, the adverse effects of obesity, physical inactivity, smoking and high alcohol intake on cancer risk should be further emphasised.

The study was conducted by a international team.

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