New research published in the British Medical Journal reveals the retired generic promotion tagline “5 a day for better health” still applies.
Any more than that, however, doesn’t prolong life spans.
Researchers, including Xia Wang, instructor in nutrition in Shandong University, Jinan, China, analyzed multiple already-published studies that looked at 56 ,423 deaths from a pool of 833, 234 participants and found evidence that higher consumption of fruit and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of premature death, especially from cardiovascular failure.
“The risk of all cause mortality was decreased by 5% for each additional serving a day of fruit and vegetables, by 6% for fruit consumption, and by 5% for vegetable consumption,” the authors said in the summary. The decreased risk in all cause mortality was most evident at five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, after which there was no further reduction in risk with added consumption.
Researchers did not find that increased fruits and vegetables caused an appreciable effect on cancer mortality.
The research paper said that adherence to a Mediterranean diet, with a relatively large amount of fruit and vegetables, has been shown to significantly decrease the risk of total mortality and mortality from cardiovascular diseases.
In those studies, researchers found that a 10% to 30% lower risk of all cause mortality for those consuming the most fruits and vegetables compared with those consuming fewest fruits and vegetables.