Five servings of fruits and vegetables a day — in particular, three vegetables and two fruits — provide the greatest mortality benefit, according to an observational study and meta-analysis in Circulation.
Researchers analysed results from the Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Over 100,000 people regularly completed food-frequency questionnaires and were followed for up to 30 years. During that time, nearly a third of participants died.
After multivariable adjustment, the greatest mortality benefit was seen for five servings of produce a day, compared with two servings (hazard ratio, 0.88).
Eating more than five servings a day was not associated with greater risk reductions. Of note, increased intake of starchy vegetables, fruit juices, or potatoes was not associated with lower mortality. Results were similar in a meta-analysis of roughly 25 studies.
We often become dependent on the supplements for vitamins and minerals rather than exploring in the natural sources. Sometimes, we are confused how much should we take on a regular basis. Moreover, various forms of food adulteration (for preservation, adding colour and for other reasons) have made it difficult to depend on the fruits from natural sources.
Editorialists in the journal conclude however: "In the post COVID-19 world, where diets and other health behaviours have been adversely impacted due to lockdowns, more, not less, needs to be done to tackle the epidemic of unhealthy eating."