Meat Free Monday One day a week can make a world of difference

Eat seven portions of fruit and veg a day, for longer life, say scientists

A report which found that we can live longer by eating more fruit and vegetables, hit the headlines this week – further underlining the importance of having a Meat Free Monday.
Researchers from the University College of London (UCL) used results from the National Health Survey, which looks at the long-term health of over 65,000 people between 2001 and 2008. They found a correlation between the number of portions of fruit and vegetables eaten daily and the likelihood of death.
“The clear message here is that the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the less likely you are to die at any age,” said lead researcher Dr Oyinlola Oyebode.

Posted : 4 April 2014

The study was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. Commenting on this, scientists at the University of Liverpool floated the idea that it could be time for the UK to update the ‘five a day’ message to ’10 a day’.

The World Health Organization currently recommends an intake of five 80 g portions of fruit or vegetables per day, but some countries already recommend a higher intake. In Australia, the ‘Go for 2 & 5’ campaign recommends five portions of vegetables and two portions of fruit daily.

The UCL study found the greatest protective effect was linked to vegetables, followed by salad and fruit. The more portions consumed, the greater the effect – eating up to ten portions per day reduced the risk of death from any cause during the seven-year study by 42%. Dr Oyebode called the size of the effect “staggering”.

A number of recent studies have highlighted the advantages of including more vegetables in our diets.

“While you may not be getting your five a day, there’s no reason to give up and stop trying,” Victoria Taylor, Senior Dietician at the British Heart Foundation told the BBC. “This study showed there were health benefits for every extra portion of fruit and veg people ate.”

Read the UCL study here.

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