Eating the rainbow is your best bet for living a long and healthy life — or so says a new study.
According to research from the American Heart Association, you should be eating five servings of fruits and veggies per day to maximize your life expectancy.
Living longer is the ultimate incentive to add some garden-grown goodness to your dietary repertoire!
“Intake of (around) 5 servings per day of fruit and vegetables, or 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables, was associated with the lowest mortality, and above that level, higher intake was not associated with additional risk reduction,” the study reads.
Not all fruits and veggies are created equal, however. Starchy vegetables such as peas and corn were not associated with the positive results, and neither were potatoes or fruit juices.
So what fruits and vegetables should you be eating? Green leafy veggies like kale and spinach, carrots, berries and citrus fruits, along with other options high in fiber.
“This amount likely offers the most benefit in terms of prevention of major chronic disease and is a relatively achievable intake for the general public,” the study’s lead author Dr. Dong Wang, an epidemiologist and nutritionist at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, told CNN Health.
Those who ate 5 servings of fruits and veggies per day had a 13% lower risk of death than those who ate only 2 servings.
“This research provides strong evidence for the lifelong benefits of eating fruits and vegetables and suggests a goal amount to consume daily for ideal health,” Dr. Anne Thorndike, Chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee, told CNN Health.
Unfortunately, only 9% of American adults currently eat the recommended amount of veggies, and only 12% eat the suggested amount of fruit, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Another recent study found that a plant-based diet rich in fruits and vegetables was the ideal option for those looking to drop pounds. The research compared a whole foods, plant-based (WFPB) diet with the popular Mediterranean diet and found that WFPB came out ahead in regards to weight loss, body composition, insulin sensitivity, and cholesterol.
So whether you want to live longer or lose a few, it might be worth upping your fruit and veggie intake.