Want to live longer? Follow Mom's advice to eat your fruits and vegetables, especially if you have bad habits such as smoking or are obese, according to a new study reported September 27 in the Medical Daily.
The researchers in Europe who conducted the study determined that by eating six to seven servings of virtuous fruits and vegetables each day, you can lower your risk mortality by 10 percent and delay mortality by 1.12 years. The news is even better if you have vices such as smoking: The benefits were greatest among those who were obese, drank alcohol or smoked.
“As such, these population groups in particular could benefit from the positive effects of fruit and vegetables in preventing chronic diseases and their associated mortality risk,” said María José Sánchez Pérez, director of the Andalusian School of Public Health’s Granada Cancer Registry.
After analyzing the results, the researchers are recommending more than six to seven portions of fruits and vegetables per day as the optimal amounts. An intriguing note: They revealed that the benefits were stronger when study participants ate raw rather than cooked vegetables.
“These results support the evidence that fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with a lower risk of death,” the authors wrote.
So based on those results, should you eat all your fruits and vegetables uncooked? No, says diet guru Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of "Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss" and "Eat to Live Cookbook: 200 Delicious Nutrient-Rich Recipes for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, Reversing Disease, and Lifelong Health."
Although raw fruits and vegetables are key aspects "of an anti-cancer diet style and a long life," Dr. Fuhrman says that "eating an exclusively raw-food diet is a disadvantage. Excluding all steamed vegetables and vegetable soups from your diet narrows your nutrient diversity and has a tendency to reduce the percentage of calories from vegetables in favor of nuts and fruits which are lower in nutrients per calorie."