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Extend Life Expectancy by Eating Seven Portions of Fruit and Vegetables a Day

Update Date: Sep 28, 2013 10:42 AM EDT

Fruits and vegetables are healthy foods that people should incorporate into their diets. Several studies have found that eating a good amount of fruits and vegetables can lower one's risks of health complications and diseases. In a new study, researchers reported that people should increase their fruits and vegetables consumption from five times a day to seven times a day. The researchers found that seven daily portions can extend life expectancy and lower the risk of heart disease.

For this study, the researchers from the Andalusian School of Public Health's Granada Cancer Registry examined the deaths of 25,682 people from the larger data set of 451, 151 people. The data was compiled over the course of 13 years. The researchers focused on food consumption and found that people who ate over 20 ounces (569 grams) of fruit and vegetables a day, which is equivalent to seven portions, were 10 percent less like to die. These people also lived an average of 1.12 years longer when compared to people who ate around nine ounces (249 grams) a day.

The researchers calculated that for every seven ounces (200 grams) of fruits and vegetables one eats, the mortality rate falls six percent. The team then estimated that if people ate seven portions of fruits and vegetables daily, three percent of deaths per year could be prevented. On top of these findings, the researchers also reported that people who ate more fruits and vegetables were 15 percent less likely to have heart disease.

"There is now sufficient evidence of the beneficial effect of fruit and vegetable consumption in the prevention of cancer and other chronic diseases," lead author María José Sánchez Pérez said. "For this reason, one of the most effective preventative measures is promoting their consumption in the population."

The study was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

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