We already know that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables cut people’s risk of early death from heart disease and cancer. Living longer is certainly of concern for most people, but I would like to propose that living better is of even more importance. Who wants to live longer with disease? Cutting our risk of disease is of much greater long-term significance, of which living longer is a pleasant byproduct.
So can increasing our consumption of fruits and vegetables really lower our risk of disease? Studies continually show that the answer is a resounding YES. Studies like this one published in the International Journal of Epidemiology conducted a meta-analysis of 95 studies looking at fruit and vegetable intake. They estimated that 7.8 million premature global deaths could be avoided yearly if people ate 10 portions of fruits and vegetables a day. Before your eyes glaze over at yet another attempt to get you to up your intake of fresh, well-sourced produce, take a minute to look over these impressive figures. Researchers estimated that if people ate up to 10 portions of fruits and veggies a day, there would be a
- 24% lower risk of heart disease
- 33% lower risk of stroke
- 28% lower risk of cardiovascular disease
- 13% lower risk of cancer, and a
- 31% lower risk of dying early when compared to not eating any fruit or vegetables
These are impressive stats people!
How is it that fruits and veggies (these veritable super foods of health and wellness) are able to so positively affect our quality of life and decrease disease risk and premature mortality? “Fruit and vegetables have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and to boost the health of our blood vessels and immune system,” said study author Dagfinn Aune of the Imperial College London School of Public Health in a statement. “This may be due to the complex network of nutrients they hold. For instance they contain many antioxidants, which may reduce DNA damage, and lead to a reduction in cancer risk.”
I can hear your big beautiful brains working away….“So just how many of these life-preserving fruits and vegetables do I have to eat in order to benefit by the decreased disease risk percentages listed above?” The researchers characterize 10 portions as 800 grams of fruits and vegetables a day. For context, one medium apple is around 182 grams.
Not a big fan of fruit? Can’t stomach most veggies? Does that mean you should disregard this incredible research and just give up on a longer, healthier quality of life? Absolutely not! In the days to come, I will be sharing suggestions on how best to work more of these amazing foods that God and many wonderful farmers put here on this earth and made highly accessessable to all of us. I’ll be sharing fabulous recipes along with more research on why it is vital to turn your attention and weekly menu toward incorporating lots more fruits and vegetables, as well as how to do so on a budget and in the least time-consuming way possible.
Until then, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. You’re also welcome to email me with any specific struggles or dietary restrictions you’d like me to address and I’ll do my best to incorporate them in the coming blog posts.
If you read this entire blog post (an extra 50 points for clicking on the link and checking out the research!!) you’re already ahead of the game, so give yourself a big pat on the back! You can do this, and I can help 🙂
Yours in Health,