Most would agree that fruits and veggies are components of a healthy diet. A new study has reported that these items can prolong one’s life and also noted which had the most benefit and some that actually increased the risk of death. The findings were presented online on March 31 in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health by researchers at the University College London (London, UK).
The study authors note that governments worldwide recommend daily consumption of fruit and vegetables. Therefore, they assessed whether fruits and vegetables were beneficial to the general population of England. The study group comprised 65,226 individuals older than age 35 who were enrolled in the 2001–2008 Health Surveys for England, which are annual surveys of nationally representative random samples of the non-institutionalized English population. Mortality data was accrued for an average of 7.7 years on the enrollees. The investigators conducted a statistical analysis of the data to assess the association between fruit and vegetable consumption and all-cause, cancer, and cardiovascular mortality. The data was adjusted for age, sex, social class, education, body mass index (BMI), alcohol consumption, and physical activity.
The researchers found that fruit and vegetable consumption was associated with decreased all-cause mortality (0.67-fold reduction) for individuals who consume seven or more portions of fruit and vegetables daily. In addition, this association was greater when excluding deaths within a year of baseline. Fruit and vegetable consumption was associated with reduced cancer (0.75-fold reduction) and cardiovascular mortality (0.69-fold reduction). They also noted that their findings suggested that vegetables may be more health benefits than fruit (two to three portions of vegetables: 0.81-fold reduction; two to three portions of fruit: 0.90-fold reduction). Consumption of vegetables (0.85-fold reduction per portion) or salad (0.87-fold reduction per portion) were most protective. However consumption of frozen or canned fruit was associated with increased mortality (1.17-fold increase per portion).
The authors concluded that a strong inverse association exists between fruit and vegetable consumption and mortality, with benefits seen in up to seven or more portions daily. They recommended that further studies should be conducted regarding the benefits (or lack of benefit) of different types of fruit and vegetables.