Getting Your Five a Day!
Recent conflicting research on the number of portions of fruits and vegetables people should eat per day has consumers confused. What is the optimum serving of fruits and vegetables per day to help prevent disease—five a day or seven or more?
Earlier this year, a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health suggested that people should be eating seven portions of fruits and vegetables every day. These findings conflict with new research, however, conducted by a team of researchers based in China and the U.S.
A new study published on thebmj.com states that five portions of fruits and vegetables a day are ideal for lowering the risk of death from any cause, including cardiovascular disease. Contrary to another recent study, any portions beyond the initial five appear to have no further impact on mortality.
However, authors of this study also did not see higher consumption of fruits and vegetables having much of an effect on reducing the risk of cancer. The authors said that “the adverse effects of obesity, physical inactivity, smoking, and high alcohol intake on cancer mortality should be further emphasized.” The authors also said that further studies will need to look more closely at specific types of cancer and the role of different groups of fruits and vegetables in affecting mortality for different causes.
The studies did not take into account other dietary factors such as the consumption of saturated fat or processed meat, which may have also had an impact on mortality rates. Currently, the American Cancer Society recommends that adults eat at least 2.5 cups (five portions) of fruits and vegetables every day, placing an emphasis on variety and the importance of whole fruits and vegetables, such as drinking pure fruit juice rather than juice from concentrate.
While the ideal amount of fruits and vegetables to eat daily may still be up for debate, according to the authors, “the results support current recommendations to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables to promote health and longevity.”
So for now, it’s best to aim for five servings every day.