By Michael Greger MD
PROBABLY the least controversial advice in all of nutrition is to eat more fruits and vegetables, which is to say, eat more plants, since the term vegetable basically means all parts of the plant that aren’t fruit.
We’ve known that eating more fruits and vegetables helps us live longer, but a new study helped us see exactly how much longer
Researchers in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition followed people and their diets over time to create a dose-response curve between fruit and vegetable consumption and mortality. Subjects who consumed five fruits and vegetables a day lived an extra three years compared to their non-plant-eating counterparts.
Compared to those eating five servings of fruits and veggies a day, those who ate four lost a month off their lifespan. Those who ate three servings lost three months. Then the curve started going off the cliff. At two servings a day, subjects lived seven months shorter, and at one serving a day, practically a year and a half, at half a serving a day, subjects lived nearly two years less, and at zero servings subjects lost three years.
This study mostly looked at people in their 50’s and 60’s. Is it too late by our 70’s? No. Women in their 70’s with the most carotenoid phytonutrients in their bloodstream were twice as likely to survive five years than those with the lowest. This means doubling one’s likelihood of survival merely by eating some more fruits and vegetables.
In a study out of Taiwan, researchers concluded that spending just 50 cents a day on fruits or vegetables could buy people about a 10% drop in mortality. That’s quite a bargain. Imagine if there was a drug that—without side-effects—could lower our risk of death 10%. How much do you think drug companies would charge? Probably more than 50 cents.
The more plants we eat the more antioxidants we get.
Nuts are technically just a dried fruit with (typically) a single seed Botanically speaking beans are fruit too.The more healthy foods we eat, the less room there is for less healthy foods.
Michael Greger, is a physician, author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, , and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial. Currently he serves as Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the US