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How Many Servings of Fruits and Vegetables Add Years to Your Life?

Blue zones area centenarians ate a 90-95 percent plant-based diet rich in beans, greens, grains, and nuts for most of their lives. In recent years, there have been countless studies about longevity diets, and healthy diets in general, but one piece of advice seems to ring true for all: Eat more fruits and vegetables.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than 14 percent of Americans eat enough fruits and vegetables every day.

How Much Longer Do Fruit and Veggie Eaters Live?

According to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “Subjects who consumed five fruits and vegetables a day lived an extra three years compared to their non-plant-eating counterparts.”

In a different study published in Nutrition Journal, researchers found that spending just 50 cents a day on fruits or vegetables could buy people about a 10 percent drop in mortality.

Plant foods don’t just add years to your life, they also directly affect your chronic disease risk. Even eating two and a half standard portions of fruit and vegetables per day is associated with “a 16% reduced risk of heart disease, an 18% reduced risk of stroke, a 13% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, a 4% reduced risk of cancer and a 15% reduction in the risk of premature death.”

5 Servings is Good But More is Better

Eating seven or more portions of fruit and veggies a day can lower your risk of premature death by a whopping 42 percent, according to a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. But seven is not the upper limit — the protective benefits increase with higher fruit and vegetable consumption.

In a study led by Imperial College London, eating 10 portions of fruits and vegetables a day is associated with:

  • 24 percent reduced risk of heart disease
  • 33 percent reduced risk of stroke
  • 28 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
  • 13 percent reduced risk of total cancer
  • 31 percent reduction in premature deaths

“Although five portions of fruit and vegetables is good, 10 a day is even better.”—Dagfinn Aune, School of Public Health at Imperial College London.

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