By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.
That’s what Swedish researchers concluded after a nifty study based on a computerized analysis of lifestyle questionnaires filled out over a 13-year period by more than seventy-one thousand Swedish men and women (ages 45-83). The association between fruit and vegetable consumption and overall mortality has seldom been investigated in large population studies, and previous findings have been inconsistent.
Here’s the “scorecard:” Those who ate no fruits and vegetables lived on average 3 years less than those who consumed 5 servings a day, 32 months less than those who consumed 3 a day, and 19 months less than those who ate 1 fruit a day.
Conclusion: Less than 5 servings a day suggests progressively shorter survival on a dose-related scale.
Access study here.
My viewpoint: I’m not surprised. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants that your body needs to counteract oxidative stress, or damage to bodily tissues caused by free radicals. Such damage is similar to the oxidation of metal (rusting) or the oxidation of a fat, such as butter, that turns it rancid. Excess oxidation can lead to inflammation and tissue destruction. Your body uses antioxidants to “quench,” or eliminate, free radicals. Your cells make antioxidants, and you also can get them from food, notably fruits and vegetables, as well as supplements.
What this means to you: It depends on how long you want to live.
Recommendation: If you want to live longer, make multiple fruits and vegetables a regular fixture of a healthy diet. Preferably, eat them organic to avoid potentially harmful pesticides and insecticides.
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