A team of scientists from Imperial College London pulled together all the world’s available population studies that document fruit and vegetable intake.
The ninety-five studies included two million people and accounted for 112,000 cases of cancer, 81,000 cases of cardiovascular disease, 47,000 cases of stroke, 43,000 cases of heart disease, and 94,000 premature deaths. They wanted to find out if nutrition has any real-world impact on reducing the risk of chronic disease and premature death. Their findings, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, suggest that disease has an inverse relationship with nutrition.
The scientists agree that 7.8 million premature deaths could be prevented annually if everyone consumed at best, ten portions of fruits and vegetables per day (800 grams). Eating just five portions (400 grams) of fruits and vegetables daily significantly reduced the risk of chronic diseases, but the greatest benefit was observed at ten portions of fruits and vegetables per day. The study ruled out smoking, physical activity, personal weight, and overall diet and focused solely on fruit and vegetable intake’s relationship to chronic disease and premature death.
Lead author Dr. Dagfinn Aune from the School of Public Health said they wanted to find out the minimum number of fruits and vegetables needed in the daily regime for the maximum protection benefit against chronic disease and premature death. A standard eighty gram portion of fruit is equivalent to a small banana, an apple or an orange. An eighty gram portion of vegetables is equivalent to three heaping tablespoons of cooked spinach, peas, or cauliflower.
The study found out that heart disease risk dropped 16 percent when the daily intake of fruits and vegetables was at just two and half servings (200 grams). Stroke risk dropped 18 percent and cardiovascular disease rates fell 13 percent when compared to those who ate no fruits and vegetables daily.
The best health benefits were found when people consumed ten portions of fruits and vegetables daily. This daily regime reduced heart disease by 24 percent, stroke by 33 percent, cardiovascular disease by 28 percent, cancer by 13 percent, and premature death by a remarkable 31 percent.
Fruits and vegetables contain a vast network of nutrients, antioxidants, enzymes, minerals, and fiber that naturally assimilate into the human body and power cellular processes for ATP energy production and execution of healthy genetic expression. Various phyto-nutrients within plants are broken down and used in the body, assisting organ function, circulation, detoxification and immune function.
Instead of feeling overwhelmed by needing 10 fruits and vegetables daily, reclaim your health by focusing on what you can substitute in on any given day. Here are few examples:
Sweet Potatoes: With trace minerals molybdenum, selenium, chromium and magnesium, beta carotene, potassium, and a host of B vitamins, vitamin A and vitamin C, sweet potatoes are an all around nutrition powerhouse that substitute well in place of sides such as French fries. Sweet and palatable, this food is great for the young and old, helping with constipation and stomach ulcers. With a low glycemic index, sweet potatoes can help lower blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance in diabetes patients.
Cauliflower bread: More than just a salad topping, cauliflower can be mashed, fried, roasted, or used as a substitute for flour in pizzas and baking recipes. Cauliflower’s antioxidant profile helps reduce oxidative stress and bad cholesterol levels. Antioxidant indole-3-carbinol has been studied to reduce the risk of breast cancer and reproductive cancers in both men and women.
Steamed, seasoned broccoli: Broccoli’s principle component, sulforaphane, inhibits cancer cell growth in cases of melanoma, esophageal, prostate and pancreatic cancers. While this vegetable is great raw, it’s easier to consume larger amounts when it’s steamed soft and added to the top of pasta dishes or seasoned as a side. Glucosinolates found in cruciferous vegetables activate the enzymes that prevent cancer.
Organic apples: Instead of eating fake food for breakfast, such as pop tarts, why not slice up an organic apple and indulge in its natural sweetness and rich polyphenol content? One such polyphenol, phloridzin, found in the peel, has been studied to manage blood sugar and fat in the body.
Lemon and honey: Instead of reaching for a corn syrup, phosphoric acid, and caramel colored- laden soda pop, squeeze a lemon in a glass of water and add honey to sweeten. Instead of hindering your gut’s ability to assimilate nutrients (as sodas do), this healthy drink will instead jumpstart your digestive process, flood the body with vitamin C and strengthen your microbiome. Read more at NaturalPedia.com.