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Seven Servings of Fruits and Vegetables per Day Lower Early Death Risk

Apr 01, 2014 08:16 AM EDT

A new study has shown that eating seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day can lower risk of early death by 42 percent.

The study also found that vegetables are better at protecting against health complications than fruits.

According to current recommendations, people need to include three to five servings of fruits and vegetables per day depending on their calorie intake.

The present study was based on data from 65,000 adults aged at least 35 years. All the participants were part of the annual national health surveys for England between 2001and 2008. Researchers looked at records of deaths among participants during the study period.

Researchers found that some 4399 people or 6.7 percent of the sample had died during the average 7.5 years of follow-up period, according to a news release.

Data analysis showed that eating seven daily portions of fruits and veggies per day were linked to a 25 percent and 31 percent lower risk of heart disease and stroke. People with a healthy diet also had a 42 percent lower risk of death from all causes.

The study also showed that veggies were better at staving off early death than fruits. Consuming two to three servings of vegetables lowered early death risk by 19 percent while similar amount of fruit was linked with 10 percent lower risk of early death.

"People shouldn't feel daunted by a big target like seven," Oyinlola Oyebode, of the University of California, Los Angeles, one of the study authors, told Livescience. "Whatever your starting point, it is always worth eating more fruit and vegetables."

This isn't the first study linking fruit and vegetable consumption with good health. Previously, a study had suggested that eating fruits and vegetables lowers LDL (the bad cholesterol that causes heart diseases). Including fruits and vegetable in diet can help protect the kidney from chronic kidney disease where the kidneys are unable to remove excess waste and water from the body, a related study had reported.

The study is published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

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