Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Live Longer By Eating Fruits and Veggies

A very large study looking at the fruit and vegetable intake of a group of people in Europe over 8 years, found that people who ate 8 portions  of fruits and veggies daily had a 22% lower risk of dying from heart disease compare to those who ate 3 or fewer.  For each serving over 3, the risk dropped by 4% per serving.  Women saw even greater risk reduction benefits than men.

The study did not count potatoes or dried beans as vegetables because of the higher carbohydrate and calories of those foods.  Only fresh fruit was counted (not canned) and nuts, seeds and olives were not counted either. A half-million people from 10 countries were included in the EPIC study with 313,074 in this assessment.  

The reasons for the reduced risks are not entirely clear.  Changes to cholesterol levels and blood pressure have been considered as have certain components within the fruits and veggies, but the detailed analysis of this study neither confirm nor refute those theories.

This is not the first study to show the benefits of eating more fruits and veggies, but this study shows how strong the connection really is. 

"Fruit and Vegetable Intake and Mortality From Ischaemic Heart Disease"  European Heart Journal. 2011; 32(10):1235-1243


  1. Interesting study. I would like to do this, but am stymied from 60 years of eating 2-3 servings a day (one fruit at lunch and a vegetable and salad at dinner). I can't imagine 8. It sure would help if you could give us a days sample of menus to show us how those people ate 8 a day. Maybe your next post.
    I appreciate your reminders.

  2. "Portions" in the nutrition world generally refer to 1/2 cup. In this study, the portion was 80g, which is about 1/3 c for most fruits and veggies. So when you see "8 servings" think 4 cups... I'll do a follow up post on portions :)