Eating fruit and vegetables every day keeps the undertaker at
That's the finding of a study that assessed the lifestyle of
65,000 UK adults and compared the eating habits of those who
Any amount of fruit and vegetable reduces the risk of death,
but seven or more servings a day are particularly good,
according to the study published in the Journal of
Epidemiology and Community Health.
Vegetables offer almost double the benefit of fruit, which
shows the Australian guidelines of two fruits and five serves
of vegetables a day are spot-on.
The UK at present advocates five servings and does not
differentiate between fruit and vegetables, prompting the
authors to suggest a possible change to Australia's 5+2
However, only around five per cent of Australian adults meet
the target, according to the latest information from the
Bureau of Statistics.
"We are halfway there in terms of fruit, but we are a long
way away for vegetables," says Kathy Chapman, chair of Cancer
Council Australia's nutrition committee.
"This study shows the importance of fruits and vegetables by
themselves not just in terms of obesity.
"The emphasis needs to be on vegetables. People must look for
ways to include more in their daily eating patterns."
The authors analysed lifestyle data in England's national
health survey and tracked people's cause of death over a
They say their results take smoking and other risk factors
Eating at least seven daily portions was linked to a 42 per
cent lower risk of death from all causes.
The risk of death from cancer was 25 per cent lower and heart
disease and stroke were 31 per cent lower.
The authors were surprised that frozen and canned fruit
appeared to add to the risk, but say this finding needs
further research because it could be linked to other
It also did not differentiate between sweetened and
"Getting five serves of vegetables a day can be challenging.
People have to look for ways to include vegetables at lunch
time as well as dinner," says Ms Chapman.
A fruit the size of a medium apple is one serve. Half a cup
of cooked vegetables or a cup of salad are the equivalent of
one serve, she says.
"You can include some salad in a sandwich or have some
chopped up carrot or celery," she says.
"We try to encourage people to eat whole rather than juice
because juicing removes a lot of the fibre."