A new study backs up the long-standing nutritional guideline that consuming five daily servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables, from apples to zucchini, can help you live longer. But if you consider fruit juice or french fries among those servings, you may have to rethink your diet.
“People who eat five servings of vegetables and fruit daily have 13 percent lower risk of all-cause death compared to people who eat two servings of fruit and vegetables per day,” says Dong Wang, a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and one of the study’s researchers.
The study found that people who consumed five daily servings — specifically two fruits and three vegetables — had a 12 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, a 10 percent lower risk from cancer and a 35 percent lower risk from respiratory disease, compared with people who ate just two daily servings. One “serving” is a half-cup of any vegetables or fruits, or a whole cup of salad greens. You get the same beneficial vitamins, minerals and fiber in both, but vegetables are slightly lower in calories and sugar, which is why the guidelines generally recommend slightly higher consumption levels for vegetables.