A fruit and vegetable intake above five-a-day shows major benefit in reducing the chance of heart attack, stroke, cancer and early death discovered scientists from Imperial College London.
The facts: 10 portions or fruits and vegetables a day corresponding to roughly 80 g per portion, are better than five portions in reducing disease risks.
In the research, which is published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, the team estimate approximately 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide could be potentially prevented every year if people ate 10 portions, or 800 g, of fruit and vegetables a day.
A daily intake of 200 g was associated with a 16 per cent reduced risk of heart disease, an 18 per cent reduced risk of stroke, and a 13 per cent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, 4 per cent reduced risk in cancer risk, and 15 per cent reduction in the risk of premature death.
Further benefits were observed with higher intakes. Eating up to 800 g fruit and vegetables a day – or 10 portions – was associated with:
- a 24 per cent reduced risk of heart disease
- a 33 per cent reduced risk of stroke
- a 28 per cent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
- a 13 per cent reduced risk of total cancer
- and a 31 per cent reduction in dying prematurely
The current UK guidelines are to eat at least five portions or 400g per day. However fewer than one in three UK adults are thought to meet this target.
The researchers also examined the types of fruit and vegetables that may reduce the risk of specific diseases.
They found the following fruits and vegetables may help prevent heart disease, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and early death: apples and pears, citrus fruits, salads and green leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce and chicory, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. They also found the following may reduce cancer risk: green vegetables, such as spinach or green beans, yellow vegetables, such as peppers and carrots, and cruciferous vegetables.