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Health

The Big Number: Eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day can help give you a longer, healthier life – The Washington Post

Eating five servings a day of fruits and vegetables may help you achieve a healthier, longer life, according to new research published in the journal Circulation. The suggested dietary goal stems from researchers’ analysis of data from multiple studies involving more than 2 million people worldwide who were tracked for up to 30 years. In that time, those who ate five servings daily of fruits and vegetables were 13 percent less likely to have died than were people who ate two servings. That included lower risks for dying of cardiovascular disease (12 percent lower), cancer (10 percent) and respiratory disease (35 percent). People with the lowest risks consumed two servings of fruit and three of vegetables daily, but eating more than five servings a day total did not provide additional benefit. Also, not all fruits and vegetables were equally protective. For instance, starchy vegetables — such as peas, corn and potatoes — and fruit juices were not linked to a lower risk of death. More beneficial, however, was consumption of green leafy vegetables and fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C or beta carotene (such as citrus fruits, berries or carrots). A whole fruit is generally considered to be one serving, as is 1 cup of cut-up fruit. For vegetables, 1 cup constitutes a serving for most fresh, frozen or canned vegetables. But for raw, leafy green vegetables, 2 cups make up one serving. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend daily consumption of 2½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit, but they note that more than 80 percent of Americans fall short of the recommended amounts. Rather than measuring everything you eat, the guidelines suggest that you fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables when eating a meal.

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