Washington: Researchers have suggested that eating at least seven daily portions of fruit and vegetables could be the best chance to stave off death from any cause.
According to the data, vegetables may pack more of a protective punch than fruit.
The authors analysed lifestyle data for more than 65,000 randomly selected adults aged at least 35, derived from annual national health surveys for England between 2001and 2008. And they tracked recorded deaths from among the sample for an average of 7.5 years.
On average, the survey respondents said they had eaten just under four portions of fruit and vegetables the previous day. During the monitoring period 4399 people died (6.7 per cent of the sample).
The analysis revealed that eating fruit and vegetables was associated with a lower risk of death, overall, and deaths from heart disease/stroke and cancer. The higher the intake of fruit and vegetables, the greater the protective effects seemed to be.
Eating at least seven daily portions was linked to a 42 per cent lower risk of death from all causes and from cancer and heart disease/stroke of 25 per cent and 31 per cent, respectively, after excluding deaths within the first year of the monitoring period.
Vegetables may be more protective, the figures suggest: 2-3 daily portions were linked to a 19 per cent lower risk of death, compared with a 10 per cent lower risk for the equivalent amount of fruit. And each portion of salad or vegetables seemed to confer a 12-15 per cent lower risk of death .
The research has been published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.