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Fruits and Vegetables May Save Your Life: Single habit to extend your life

Fruits and vegetables

Do you eat at least six to seven servings of fruits and vegetables each day? You should - it may be one habit that will actually extend your life.

A new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that those whose diets were rich in produce reduced their risk of mortality by 10% and delayed mortality by a little more than a year. The most important finding - eating fruits and vegetables positively benefited health, even when there were other factors “against” you, such as alcohol consumption, smoking and obesity.

Researchers used data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study which investigates how diet, nutrition, lifestyle, and environmental factors are related to the incidence of cancer and other chronic diseases. It includes more than a half a million people from 10 European countries.

Volunteers provided information through a questionnaire, plus had body measurements and blood samples taken in 1992 and then followed until 2010. Those who consumed more than six to seven portions of fruits and vegetables per day reduced mortality risk significantly over those who ate less than two to three servings daily. The effects were strongest when raw vegetables were consumed versus cooked.

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“These results support the evidence that fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with a lower risk of death,” the authors wrote.

Seven out of ten Americans do not eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Here are some tips on how to sneak more into your diet:

• Boost your breakfast: Stir berries, dried fruit or banana slices into yogurt, cereal or oatmeal. Add peppers, , spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, or onions to scrambled eggs or an omelet.
• Make a fruit smoothie: Don’t have time for a sit-down breakfast. Make a yogurt-and-fruit smoothie to drink during your commute.
• Drink a glass of 100% fruit juice.
• At lunch, enjoy a vegetable soup with your sandwich or salad. For your sandwich, get creative and add spinach, apples, cucumber or zucchini instead of just lettuce and tomato.
• Order extra vegetables for your pizza.
• Double the amount of vegetables called for in a casserole.
• Puree cooked cauliflower, winter squash or red peppers and stir them into sauces, mashed potatoes or mac and cheese.
• Make Monday a Meatless one and focus only on veggies, grains and dried beans.
• Remember to carry an apple, an orange, celery or carrot sticks, or other favorite as a snack instead of chips or sweets.
• Enjoy a fruit dessert, such as a baked apple crisp or strawberries dipped in melted dark chocolate.

We know fruits and vegetables are good for your help. Here are 14 fruits that hay help prevent cancer. You may want to add them to your shopping basket next time you go for a grocery shopping. But even better. These two fruits seem superior for your immune system. EmaxHealth reporter Deborah Mitchel writes that scientists came to this conclusion by analyzing nearly 450 compounds. They found that two substances present in two delicious fruits appear far better than others when it comes to helping your immune system.

Journal Reference: Leenders M, Sluijs I, Ros MM, et al. Fruit and vegetable consumption and mortality: European prospective investigation into cancer and nutrition. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2013.

Additional Resource: Cooking Light Magazine - 12 Ways to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables