If you thought it was hard to get your recommended five fruit and vegetable portions a day, look away now; health experts have newly stated that we should be tucking into 10 portions every day if we want to live longer and stave off diseases like cancer.
In a study by Imperial College London, researchers analysed 95 previous studies on fruit and vegetable intake and concluded that eating 10 a day could prevent 53,000 premature deaths. Eating five a day stops 32,000 a year. It further found that doubling the current recommendation could stop 7,200 cancer deaths and nearly 14,000 stroke deaths annually.
“Fruit and vegetables have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and to boost the health of our blood vessels and immune system. This may be due to the complex network of nutrients they hold,” lead author Dr Dagfinn Aune said.
“For instance they contain many antioxidants, which may reduce DNA damage, and lead to a reduction in cancer risk.
“I think people should try to do better than five if they can. There do seem to be benefits from a higher intake.”
The study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology, also noted which fruit and vegetables provided the best protection. Apples, pears, citrus fruits, salads, green leafy vegetables and cruciferous veg like cauliflower were highlighted as helping against heart disease and stroke, while green veg, yellow veg and cruciferous veg were shown to lower the risk of cancer.
One portion counts as 80g, which is the equivalent of two tangerines, seven strawberries or three heaped tablespoons of spinach or peas for small fruit and veg, an apple or banana for medium sized foods or half a grapefruit for large fruit.
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