In this article researchers argue that even just 2.5 portions of fruit and vegetables daily can lower the chance of heart disease, stroke, cancer and premature death. If the amount is further increased to 10 a day this could prevent up to 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide every year.
According to the researchers eating 10 portions fruits and vegetables was associated with a 24% reduced risk of heart disease, a 33% reduced risk of stroke, a 28% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, a 13% reduced risk of total cancer, and a 31% reduction in premature deaths.
The Guardian presents this image of what 10 portions or 800g could look like in a day:
The analysis in the International Journal of Epidemiology pooled the results from 95 different studies involving a total of approximately 2 million people. They assessed up to 43,000 cases of heart disease, 47,000 cases of stroke, 81,000 cases of cardiovascular disease, 112,000 cancer cases and 94,000 deaths.
Background: Questions remain about the strength and shape of the dose-response relationship between fruit and vegetable intake and risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and mortality, and the effects of specific types of fruit and vegetables. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to clarify these associations.
Methods: PubMed and Embase were searched up to 29 September 2016. Prospective studies of fruit and vegetable intake and cardiovascular disease, total cancer and all-cause mortality were included. Summary relative risks (RRs) were calculated using a random effects model, and the mortality burden globally was estimated; 95 studies (142 publications) were included.
Results: For fruits and vegetables combined, the summary RR per 200 g/day was 0.92 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.90–0.94, I2 = 0%, n = 15] for coronary heart disease, 0.84 (95% CI: 0.76–0.92, I2 = 73%, n = 10) for stroke, 0.92 (95% CI: 0.90–0.95, I2 = 31%, n = 13) for cardiovascular disease, 0.97 (95% CI: 0.95–0.99, I2 = 49%, n = 12) for total cancer and 0.90 (95% CI: 0.87–0.93, I2 = 83%, n = 15) for all-cause mortality. Similar associations were observed for fruits and vegetables separately. Reductions in risk were observed up to 800 g/day for all outcomes except cancer (600 g/day). Inverse associations were observed between the intake of apples and pears, citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, and salads and cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality, and between the intake of green-yellow vegetables and cruciferous vegetables and total cancer risk. An estimated 5.6 and 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide in 2013 may be attributable to a fruit and vegetable intake below 500 and 800 g/day, respectively, if the observed associations are causal.
Conclusions: Fruit and vegetable intakes were associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and all-cause mortality. These results support public health recommendations to increase fruit and vegetable intake for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and premature mortality.
Aune, D., Giovannucci E.,Boffetta, P., Fadnes, L. T., Keum, N., Norat, T., Greenwood, D. C., Riboli, E., Vatten, L. J., Tonstad, S., Fruit and vegetable intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer and all-cause mortality–a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. Int J Epidemiol,. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyw319