Let food be thy medicine. Results of a new study by Imperial College London prove that we should heed Hippocrates' advice if we want to live a long and healthy life.
10 Portions Per Day Could Prevent 7.8 Million Deaths Worldwide
The research is a meta-analysis of 95 separate studies in various populations worldwide. The researchers looked into the eating habits of about 2 million people and assessed up to 43,000 cases of heart disease, 47,000 cases of stroke, 81,000 cases of cardiovascular disease, 112,000 cancer cases, and 94,000 deaths.
Their findings, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, suggest that 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide could be potentially prevented every year if people ate 10 portions, or 800 (28 ounces) grams, of fruit and vegetables a day. Consuming that amount is also an effective defense strategy against diseases.
The study showed that 800 grams of fruits and vegetables — such as apples and pears, citrus fruits, salads and green leafy vegetables (spinach, lettuce and chicory), and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower) — diminish a person's risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases by 28 percent and cancer by 13 percent.
Nutrition Expert Questions Its Feasibility
"The five-a-day target is the foundation of a healthy balanced diet and is an achievable way to help prevent a number of diseases. Whilst consuming more than five portions of fruit and vegetables a day may be desirable ... adding pressure to consume more fruit and vegetables creates an unrealistic expectation," Public Health England's Chief Nutritionist Alison Tedstone said.
On the other hand, Dr. Dagfinn Aune, one of the authors of the study, said that the result of their study doesn't necessarily mean the existing UK guideline of at least five portions, or 400 grams (14 ounces) per day, should be revamped; it's simply highlighting the fact that there are far greater benefits when one goes beyond it.
How To Increase Your Vegetable Intake With Minimum Effort
Hitting the 10-serving-a-day target may seem daunting. But with these simple strategies, it can be easy as pie.
Toss Them Into A Smoothie
For a quick energy boost in the morning or as a guilt-free treat to satisfy sweet cravings, a refreshing smoothie will do the trick.
"Our advice is to limit the fruit and vegetables intake from just juice and smoothies, as the processing reduces the amount of fibre and increases the amount of sugar in the final product which can damage your teeth," an official from the UK Department of Health advised.
Be Creative With Breakfast Cereals
Oatmeal and milk can be boring. Add a splash of color and antioxidants by throwing in a handful of strawberries, cranberries, or bananas.
Munch On Vegetable Sticks
Forget about the sodium-heavy crisps. Cut cucumber, carrots, or zucchini into sticks, which make convenient and healthier snacking alternatives.