Eating a minimum of 10 portions a day of fruit and veg may give us longer lives, say researchers based on a recent study by Imperial College London and reported on the BBC. Their findings indicated such eating habits could prevent 7.8 million premature deaths each year and that specific fruit and veg can reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Their conclusions were made by pooling data on 95 separate studies, involving two million people’s eating habits and were published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.
How much do we need?
Many people struggle to even eat the five a day (400g) recommended by the World Health Organization and estimates show that, in the UK, only about one in three people eats enough.
A portion counts as 80g (3oz) of fruit or veg – the equivalent of a small banana, a pear or three heaped tablespoons of spinach or peas.
The analysis showed even small amounts had a health advantage, but that 10 portions a day is significant. What the researchers don’t know , however, is whether consuming even more fruit and veg than that, further increases the health benefits.
Which foods are best?
- Lower risks of cancer were linked to eating green veg such as spinach, yellow veg (such as peppers) and cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower.
- Lower risks of heart disease and strokes were linked to eating
- The following fruits: apples, pears and citrus fruits
- Green leafy vegetables or cruciferous veg
How much does it help?
Compared with eating no fruit or veg a day, the new study showed:
- 200g cut the risk of cardiovascular disease by 13% while 800g cut the risk by 28%
- 200g cut the risk of cancer by 4%, while 800g cut the risk by 13%
- 200g cut the risk of a premature death by 15%, while 800g cut the risk by 31%
Dr Dagfinn Aune, one of the researchers, said: “Fruit and vegetables have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and to boost the health of our blood vessels and immune system.
“This may be due to the complex network of nutrients they hold. For instance, they contain many antioxidants, which may reduce DNA damage and lead to a reduction in cancer risk.”
Nutrition advice can cut the cost of sickness absence
Nutrition can have a significant impact on staff wellbeing and poor nutrition can often be at the root of sickness absence. So dietary advice is just one of the aspects covered by UK occupational health providers Medigold Health.
They specialise in providing proactive employee wellbeing services across an extensive number of health and lifestyle topics including nutrition.
Designed to be delivered onsite or by remote delivery solutions, these services can be provided as one-off projects or as part of an integrated wellbeing programme.