Eating recommended levels of fruits and vegetables can add as much as three years to life expectancy, one research report concludes.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition's August edition has a study linking longer life to greater fruit and vegetable consumption.
The study, “Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and All-Cause Mortality,” was written by researchers from the Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
In an abstract describing the findings, the authors noted that previous studies exploring the link between fruit and vegetable consumption and overall mortality have been limited by small sample size and have showed inconsistent findings. The goal of the new study, according to the researchers, was to find the link between fruit and vegetable consumption and mortality in a large group of Swedish men and women.
The research used a self-administered questionnaire to 71,706 participants from 45 to 83 years old. During 13 years of follow-up tracking, 11,439 of the group died. In comparison to those participants who said they consumed five fruits and vegetables a day, a lower consumption of fruits and vegetables was linked to shorter survival and higher mortality rates, according to the abstract.
“Those who never consumed fruits and vegetables lived three years shorter and had a 53% higher mortality rate than did those who consumed five servings of fruits and vegetables per day,” according to the study abstract.
The research showed that those who never consumed fruit lived 19 months shorter than did those who at one fruit per day, according to the abstract. The study found that the participants who consumed three vegetables per day lived 32 months longer than did those who never consumed vegetables.
In their conclusion, researchers said that fruit and vegetable consumption of less than five servings a day is associated with shorter survival and higher mortality rates.
Elizabeth Pivonka, president and chief executive officer of the Hockessin, Del.-based Produce for Better Health Foundation, said in an e-mail that she hasn’t read the full research paper but was encouraged by the conclusions found in the abstract.