Plant-Rich Diet, Longevity Linked Again
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, April 01, 2014 12:00 AM

New evidence backs up the advice of generations of moms ("eat your vegetables") and journalist/food activist Michael Pollan, who has told the world to "eat food, not too much, mostly plants." 

A population-based observational study conducted in England found a "robust inverse association" between fruit and vegetable consumption and death from all causes, including cancer and cardiovascular disease.  The largest benefits were seen in people who ate seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day compared with those who ate less than one serving, with the higher level of consumption associated with significantly lower all-cause mortality.

Consumption of seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables was associated with reduced cancer mortality and CVD mortality. The association with reduced mortality risk was slightly stronger for vegetables than for fruit.

"Most Americans say they consume around three servings of fruits and vegetables (daily), and at least one of those servings is white potatoes.  So what we learn from this study is that eating vegetables is good for health, which we knew, and that eating more of them is better. Ten may be ideal, but even five is a great improvement."

When researchers considered different types of fruits and vegetables in the adjusted model, salad, fresh fruit and dried fruit all showed significant associations with reduced mortality, while eating more frozen and canned fruit was significantly associated with a greater all-cause mortality.

But the result with perhaps the biggest potential implication for policy makers was that the association continued to grow with vegetable and fruit consumption of up to seven servings a day. In the U.K., the U.S., and elsewhere, many guidelines suggest five servings a day as a target minimum goal.

"Standard serving sizes are half a cup for the most part and easy to manage.  An important feature of healthful diets is variety -- a mixed salad takes care of most. My bottom line: eat your veggies!"