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We need to eat 7 Fruits and Veggies Now?

Market fruits and vegetables
Photograph by Getty Images/iStockphoto

Governments around the world, the World Health Organization, and moms and dads have been encouraging us to eat our fruits and vegetables, but until now, it wasn't known just how positive of an effect those foods had on our health. A new study that was released on Monday and published in The Journal of Epidemiology and Community examined the eating habits and risk of death in more than 65,000 people.

Over the 12-year study period in Britain, people who ate "seven or more portions of fruits and vegetables [per day] dropped their risk of death from cancer by 25 percent and from cardiovascular disease by 31 percent," compared with people who ate less than one portion.

Whereas the common saying is "An apple a day keeps the doctor away," researchers found that vegetables had a greater "protective effect" compared with eating fresh fruit. Fresh fruit is still protective, particularly compared to canned fruits, which actually increased the risk of death, statistically speaking.

Ultimately, seven or more portions of fruits and vegetables per day lowered risk of death by 42 percent.

Now before you argue that a yummy fruit salad should do the trick, the study showed that overall, each daily serving of veggies reduced your overall risk of death by 16 percent (fresh fruit was only 4 percent). In other words? Try a salad ... made entirely of veggies.

The findings are not entirely conclusive. For instance, there is a strong association between eating fruits and vegetables and living longer, but whether there is a causal relationship is another story.

Regardless, researchers agree that the findings provide strong evidence for "increased consumption of vegetables and fruits," just like our parents have been telling us for years!

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