According to a recent review of 95 previous studies regarding the relationship between nutrition and health, it was found that five portions of fruit and vegetables a day might not be enough to stay clear of serious illness.
“Five a day is good, but more is even better,” said Dagfinn Aune, one of the researchers from the Imperial College London.
It’s a well-known fact that we are supposed to eat a good amount of fruits and veggies to stay healthy and live longer, yet the advice regarding the portion size varies across countries. In the UK, for instance, it’s recommended to consume five portions of those natural goods a day, while in the US they recommend seven to ten. In Australia, the general advice stands at two serves of fruit and five of vegetables per day.
In the latest review, which included studies that followed individuals for between three to thirty years, it was found that people who consumed ten portions of fruit and veg a day had approximately a third lower risk of death from heart disease and cancer (the two most prominent killers in the western world), compared to those who ate none.
It’s not surprising, really. If your diet consists of chips and coke for dinner, and a cigarette for breakfast, the results are quite obvious. It’s simple maths.
The study also found that those who consumed larger amounts of cruciferous veggies, such as broccoli and kale, were much less likely to develop cancer in their later years.
However, the studies reviewed were purely based on observation, meaning that they weren’t controlled and therefore not the most accurate kind of medical evidence. They just observed people’s eating habits and the rate at which they died. This means that there are a number of factors that could have interfered with the results, the most significant one being financial status.
Wealthier people tend to eat have a healthier diet, smoke and drink less, and get better medical care.
But although the chances that the studies were biased are noticeable, they shouldn’t be discouraging. Whether you eat 5 or 10 portions of fruits and veg a day it doesn’t really matter, as long as you do it. Include more of the good ol’ kale and some broccoli here and there, and you’ll be just fine.