To Your Health
April, 2021 (Vol. 15, Issue 04)
Count to Five to Live Longer
By Editorial Staff
For centuries, we've searched for the elusive Fountain of Youth - the keys to living longer. Is achieving longevity just a five count away? If you're counting your daily consumption of fruits and veggies, then five is indeed the number to shoot for, as current guidelines recommend – and research now suggests how many and what types of each we should be eating to live a longer life.
Researchers reviewed previous studies including the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study; and research involving participants from 29 countries worldwide. Overall, the analysis yielded data on eating habits and longevity among nearly 2 million study participants. True to current recommendations, daily intake of five serving of fruits and vegetables was associated with the lowest risk of death during the study periods evaluated, with the greatest longevity among those who ate two daily servings of fruit and three daily servings of veggies. Of note, eating more than five servings did not appear to have any additional benefit in terms of longevity.
Specifically, consuming five daily servings of fruits / vegetables in the 2:3 ratio (vs. consuming only two servings daily) reduced the risk of death from all causes by 13 percent; death from cardiovascular disease by 12 percent; death from cancer by 10 percent; and death from respiratory diseases by 35 percent. Green, leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, etc.) and fruits / veggies high in beta-carotene and vitamin C (citrus fruits, berries, carrots, etc.) seemed to provide the most benefit in terms of longevity.
So, how many servings of fruits and vegetables are you eating every day? If you're like millions of others, the sobering answer is not nearly enough. As this study suggests, it's time to start counting – to five, every day – and make sure you get the nutrition your body needs. Talk to your doctor for more information.