Fruits And Vegetables Increase Life Span
September 26, 2013

Want To Live Longer? It’s Easy – Eat Your Fruits And Veggies!

[ Watch the Video: Live Longer By Eating Your Vegetables Every Day ]

Brett Smith for - Your Universe Online

Your mother probably always told that eating your fruits and vegetables would help you to grow up big and strong. According to a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology, a diet full of fruits and veggies will also increase your chance of living a longer life.

Conducted by a team of European researchers, the study included data on nearly 26,000 deaths among more than 450,000 participants who were tracked for over 13 years.

"This study is the most significant epidemiological study that this association has examined to date," said study author María José Sánchez Pérez, a director at the Andalusian School of Public Health's (EASP) in Spain.

According to the study, about 1.25 pounds of fruit and vegetables per day cuts the risk of mortality by 10 percent and delays the risk of mortality by 1.1 years compared to a daily diet that includes less than half a pound of fruits and vegetables. The study researchers also found that for every 7-ounce increase in daily fruit and vegetable consumption, mortality risk falls by 6 percent.

The 2.9 percent of deaths could be stopped if everyone not eating enough fruit and vegetables simply increased their daily intake by 3.5 to 7 ounces. The study authors noted that previous research has found daily recommended fruit and vegetable consumption prevents the development of chronic diseases and reduces the risk of mortality by 10 to 25 percent.

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

The study researchers also looked into the specific health impacts of eating fruits and vegetables. A diet containing high amounts of fruit and vegetables cuts the risk of cardiovascular disease mortality by 15 percent. Additionally, health researchers estimate that more than 4 percent of deaths caused by cardiovascular disease could be stopped by eating over 14 ounces of fruit and vegetables daily.

When the team looked at fruit separately, they did not see any significant risk reduction. However, vegetable consumption by itself was linked to a lower risk of mortality, which was even more pronounced for raw vegetables: high consumption of these cut the risk of mortality by 16 percent.

"With regard to cancer mortality, no statistically significant risk reduction was found, although it will be necessary to assess this according to specific types of cancer," Sánchez added.

The researchers indicated that regular fruit and vegetable consumption will have a positive effect on mortality rate due to these tumors. The team also found that mortality risk reduction from fruit and vegetable consumption was more pronounced in study participants who drank alcohol, with around 30 to 40 percent risk reduction. Those who were obese saw a 20 percent drop. The researchers said that this positive effect could be the result of fruits’ and vegetables’ high antioxidant content, which reduces the oxidative stress caused by alcohol, tobacco and obesity.

"As such, these population groups in particular could benefit from the positive effects of fruit and vegetables in preventing chronic diseases and their associated mortality risk," Sánchez concluded.