HealthDay News — Ten daily servings of fruits and vegetables may be a key to reducing the risk of myocardial infarction, stroke, cancer, and premature death, according to a review published online in the International Journal of Epidemiology.
Together, the 95 studies the Imperial College London scientists analyzed included almost 2 million people. The benefits of high fruit and vegetable consumption appear to come through lower rates of myocardial infarction, stroke, cancer, and early death. And if everyone found a way to get 10 daily servings of produce, 7.8 million premature deaths would be avoided each year worldwide, the researchers estimated.
Even just over 2 portions a day made a difference in the review, the researchers added. Eating 2.5 portions (200 grams) of produce on a daily basis was associated with reductions in coronary heart disease (by 16%); stroke (18%); cardiovascular disease (13%); cancer risk (4%); and premature death (15%). The results for 10 daily servings were even stronger: a 24% reduced risk of coronary heart disease; a 33% reduced risk of stroke; a 28% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease; a 13% reduced risk of cancer; and a 31% reduction in premature death risk.
In their review, the researchers also found signs that the following types of produce seemed to confer the greatest benefits: apples, pears, citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower), and green and yellow vegetables (such as green beans, spinach, carrots, and peppers).
Aune D, Giovannucci E, Boffetta P, et al. 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 [published online February 22, 2017]. Int J Epidemiol. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyw319