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Moderation. Small helpings. Sample a little bit of everything. These are the secrets of happiness and good health.
Five servings of fruits and veggies a day is just right
People who eat the recommended five servings of fruits and veggies a day live longer than those who do not, according to a Swedish study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. But the researchers did not find any additional benefit to eating more than five servings a day.
In previous studies, researchers have looked at the link between eating fruits and vegetables and health and disease, but this is one of the few large-scale studies that has examined the link between consuming fruits and vegetables and lifespan. For the study, the scientists analyzed questionnaire answers from 71,706 Swedish men and women, and looked for a relationship between daily consumption of fruit and vegetables and rate of death. During the 13-year study, 11,500 of the men and women died. Researchers found that eating fewer than five servings of fruit and veggies a day was progressively linked to shorter lifespan and a higher rate of death in both men and women, compared to those people who did eat five servings a day. This means that the less fruit and veggies they ate per day, the shorter their lives. In addition, those who said they never ate fruit and vegetables had their lives cut short by an average of three years, and were 53 percent more likely to die during the study’s follow-up.
The researchers found that the people who did not eat as many fruits and vegetables tended to be smokers, less educated and consumed more red meat, high-fat dairy, snacks and sweets. Interestingly, those who ate a lot of fruits and veggies tended to consume more calories.