According to research led by scientists at Harvard University, eating three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit a day ensures a longer life. In addition, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), low consumption of these foods is associated with a greater predisposition to certain diseases, such as heart disease.
For the study, the scientists evaluated more than 100,000 adult women and men from 1984 to 2014 and monitored their diets by means of questionnaires carried out every two to four years. On the other hand, the researchers combined data on fruit and vegetable consumption from nearly 2 million adults worldwide, under the direction of Dr. Dong Wang, an epidemiologist and nutritionist.
The Harvard team also consulted databases and numerous studies covering information on adult diets, looking for patterns related to diet and longevity. Among the analyses, they found that the consumption of up to five pieces of fruits and vegetables daily was associated with a longer life.
From the databases, the researchers were able to establish that people who consumed five fruits or vegetables a day, compared to those who ate two were 13 percent less likely to die from any cause.
Likewise, the link was strong in relation to heart and lung disease; people who ate five servings of fruit or vegetables were 12 percent less likely to die from heart disease and 35 percent less likely to die from respiratory disease.
In addition, deaths from cancer were also 10 percent less common among people who ate the most fruit in a day. And it was concluded that having a specific combination of the two food groups is more beneficial, in this case the researchers said that two servings of fruit and one serving of vegetables is the perfect balance.
The scientific team finally reiterated that consuming fruits and vegetables with higher amounts of antioxidants helps to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. These molecules accelerate aging, contribute to inflammation and increase the risk of worsening chronic diseases.
About this, and according to Javier Martínez, nutritionist at Policlínico HM Moraleja (Madrid, Spain) and creator of the Equidieta Method, the consumption of a diet rich in natural antioxidants is essential to reduce inflammation, strengthen the immune system and prevent cellular aging that weakens it, especially in the case of older adults.
This is why the best way to obtain antioxidant properties is by consuming plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as seeds and nuts.
“This way of eating will make us feel better, the body stronger and the skin tolerate the sun better. In addition, if we eat foods rich in antioxidants we also guarantee a good intake of the vitamins and minerals we need,” Arranz explained.