Most of us know that eating fruits and vegetables is good for our health. But a new study from the National Institutes of Health says it may even help us live longer.
The study found that eating an average of five servings of fruits and vegetables a day is linked to a reduced risk of death from heart and respiratory diseases. Eating more fruit is also associated with a lower risk of cancer.
Researchers gathered data from more than 100,000 people starting in the mid-1980s until 2014. Participants included people who didn't have diabetes, heart disease, or cancer when the study began. All participants were asked questions about their diets every two to four years.
The results showed that eating about two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables a day was associated with lower risk of death from chronic disease.
Most types of fruits and vegetables led to these results, except fruit juices and starchy vegetables such as peas, corn, and potatoes. Although it is often recommended to eat 5 fruits and vegetables a day, eating more than five servings per day wasn't associated with further reduction in risk of death.
Researchers in this study added their findings to data from 26 other studies. The combined findings support current daily recommendations for eating fruits and vegetables. For adults, the recommended daily amount is 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables.
However, the average American adult only eats about one serving of fruit and 1.5 servings of vegetables a day. So, the next time you head to a grocery store, make sure to add some apples, broccoli, or whatever healthy options you like to your cart!