A group of researchers from China and the U.S. have found that eating five portions of fruits and vegetables per day helps reduce risks for unwanted health conditions including heart disease and cancer as well as early death. Strengthening earlier recommendations by health authorities in countries such as the U.S., UK, and Germany that encourage the consumption of at least five portions of fruits and vegetables per day.

For the new study, which was published the British Medical Journal on July 29, Frank Hu, from the Departments of Nutrition and Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues examined 16 studies involving 833,234 individuals to assess the association between the amount of fruit and vegetable consumption and risks of death due to any cause, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Of the study participants, 56,423 died during the follow-up period, 11,512 of whom from cardiovascular disease and 16,817 from cancer. The researchers observed that the participants with higher consumption of fruits and vegetables had reduced risks of death from all causes and from cardiovascular disease. Hu and colleagues also noted that the risk of death is reduced by 5 percent for each additional serving of vegetable and fruit consumed daily compared with consuming none.

"The risk of all cause mortality was decreased by 5% for each additional serving a day of fruit and vegetables, by 6% for fruit consumption, and by 5% for vegetable consumption," the researchers wrote.

It appears though that consuming more than five servings of fruits and vegetables no longer reduces the likelihood of early death. Five is apparently the magic number when it comes to consuming fruits and vegetables because the overall risk of death is no longer reduced with consumption of over five servings of fruits and veggies per day.

Oyinlola Oyebode, from the University College London, who led an earlier study that showed consuming seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day is healthier when compared with consuming just the recommended 5 servings, however, said that while the new study suggests that eating more than five portions does not offer much effect, it is possible that those who eat five to seven or more portions of fruits and vegetables per day may experience more benefits.

"This study suggests not much additional effect over five portions, although there was possibly a greater effect in the groups eating five to seven, and seven plus portions in our study," Oyebode said.

ⓒ 2021 TECHTIMES.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.