If all you want to do is lower your risk of dying soon, you only have to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, researchers said Tuesday. For every serving of fruit you eat a day, you lower your risk of dying prematurely from heart disease by 5 percent. For every vegetable serving you eat, the risk falls by 4 percent, Frank Hu of the Harvard School of Public Health and colleagues reported. Most health experts recommend that people eat twice that — up to 10 servings a day of fruits and vegetables. But Hu and colleagues did what’s called a meta-analysis — a study looking at a batch of published studies, all taken together, and covering more than 800,000 people. “There was a threshold around five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, after which the risk of all-cause mortality did not reduce further,” they wrote. Other studies, however, show that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables lowers the risk of both cancer and heart disease.
— Maggie Fox
First published July 29 2014, 3:30 PM