Most fruits and vegetables are associated with better health. (There are some exceptions.)

A new study confirms long-standing nutritional guidelines on how five layers of fruit and vegetables can help people live longer. But it also adds some insight into just what fruits and vegetables are beneficial, and which are just “neutral.”

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Study details

In a new study published in Circulation, Dong Wang, faculty member at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women ‘s Hospital, and colleagues examined the optimal amount of fruits and vegetables for long-term health. They followed two prospective cohort studies of more than 100,000 U.S. residents over a 30-year period. The researchers then performed a dose-response meta-analysis of these two studies, along with 24 other cohort studies conducted worldwide. In all, more than 1.8 million people took part in the research.


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According to the study in Circulation, serving size varied across the cohort studies reviewed, but the researchers for the dose-response meta-analysis changed “intake of fruits and vegetables in grams to use 80g as a normal serving size. ” In contrast, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans classify one serving of fruit or vegetables as two cups of leafy salad vegetables, one cup of raw or cooked vegetables or fruits, one cup of vegetable or fruit juice, or half a cup of dried fruits or vegetables.

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Overall, the researchers found that “people who ate a combination of two portions of fruit in addition to three servings of vegetables per day had a 13% lower risk of full-blown death (for five servings per day. total) compared to people who eat two servings of fruits and vegetables per day, “Wang said, although he noted that the study confirmed a correlation, not a reason.

In addition, eating two servings of extra fruit had a 35% lower risk of death from respiratory disease, a 12% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, and a 10% lower risk of death from cancer. on three servings of vegetables per day. compared to people who ate only two servings per day.

Interestingly, however, the study found that eating more than five servings of fruits and vegetables per day was not associated with additional benefits. Risk reduction was on a plateau at five divisions per day, a Washington Post article about the study reports. That said, eating more than five servings of fruits and vegetables was not associated with any increased risk of overall death, according to Wang’s study. In addition, other research has suggested that more than five resolutions may be linked to disease prevention, according to the Post.

In contrast, however, most Americans typically eat just one serving of fruit and a half servings of vegetables per day. That is well below the level recommended by the Theological Guidelines for Americans, which are up to nine servings per day, or according to the amount suggested by Wang, et al., In their recent study, Post reports.

The fruits and vegetables do not cut

The study also found that while almost all fruits and vegetables – including leafy greens, citrus, and berries – were associated with lower overall mortality, there were a few foods that were not. In particular, the researchers found that starchy fruit and vegetable juices – including corn, potatoes, and peas – were not associated with a lower risk of death or chronic disease, possibly because they have a greater effect. these fruits and vegetables on blood sugar levels.

However, the study did not identify that eating starchy fruit or vegetable juice increased anyone ‘s risk of mortality – they did not appear to reduce the risk of mortality. As the Post Cara Rosenbloom add, “Consider them neutral.”

Nevertheless, in distinguishing between these types of fruits and vegetables from others, the study differed from the Theological Guidelines for Americans, according to the Post, which currently classifies all fruit and vegetable consumption equally – even fruit juice (Searing, Washington Post, 3/7; Rosenbloom, Washington Post, 3/18).

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