Eating 5 daily portions of fruit and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of death from any cause, particularly from cardiovascular disease, but beyond 5 portions appears to have no further effect, a meta-analysis found.
For as much as has been written about the subject, any potential association between eating fruits and veggies cancer risk has not been firmly established, for example. So, researchers conducted the meta-analysis of 16 studies involving more than 833,000 participants and more than 56,000 deaths, about 11,500 from cardiovascular disease and 16,800 from cancer.
Results appeared at BMJ.
Eating more fruit and vegetables was significantly associated with a lower risk of death from all causes, particularly from cardiovascular diseases. Average risk of death from all causes was reduced by 5% (0.95; 95% CI, 0.92 to 0.98; P=0.001) for each additional daily serving of fruit and vegetables, while risk of cardiovascular death was reduced by 4% for each additional daily serving of fruit and vegetables.
But the researchers identified a threshold around 5 servings per day, after which the risk of death did not reduce further.
In contrast, eating more fruits and vegetables was not appreciably associated with risk of death from cancer. The researchers suggest that, as well as advice to eat adequate amounts of fruit and vegetables, the adverse effects of obesity, physical inactivity, smoking and high alcohol intake on cancer risk should be further emphasized.
The researchers say their study “provides further evidence that a higher consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of mortality from all causes, particularly from cardiovascular diseases. The results support current recommendations to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables to promote health and longevity.”