Fruits, Veggies, & Longevity: How Many Minutes Per Mouthful?

Fruits, Veggies, & Longevity: How Many Minutes Per Mouthful?
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The first study to gauge how much longer we live based on the number of fruits and vegetables we eat suggests that a daily salad could add years to our lifespan.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Probably the least controversial advice in all of nutrition is eat more fruits and vegetables, which is to say, eat more plants, since the term vegetable just basically just means all parts of the plant that aren’t fruit. Eat more fruits and vegetables if for no other reason than to live longer. But, only recently did we learn how much longer.

The first study to follow people over time to evaluate a “dose-response” curve between fruit and vegetable consumption and mortality. Compared to those eating five servings of fruits and veggies a day, those only eating four lose a month off their lifespan. Only three servings, lose three months. Then, we start going off the cliff. Two servings a day, we live seven months shorter; one serving practically a year and a half; two years gone at half-serving a day, and then, three years of our lives down the drain.

Just a single serving of fruit, just like one apple, could mean a 19-month difference between life and death. And, one daily salad could mean years more time on this planet.

This study mostly looked at people in their 50s and 60s. Is it too late by our 70s? No. Women in their 70s with the most carotenoid phytonutrients in their bloodstream were twice as likely to survive five years than those with the lowest. Doubling one’s likelihood of survival, just eating some more fruits and vegetables.

In this study out of Taiwan, spending just 50 cents a day on fruits or vegetables appears to buy us about a 10% drop in mortality. That’s quite a bargain. Imagine if there was a drug that—without side effects—could lower our risk of death 10%. How much do you think drug companies would charge? Probably more than 50 cents.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Probably the least controversial advice in all of nutrition is eat more fruits and vegetables, which is to say, eat more plants, since the term vegetable just basically just means all parts of the plant that aren’t fruit. Eat more fruits and vegetables if for no other reason than to live longer. But, only recently did we learn how much longer.

The first study to follow people over time to evaluate a “dose-response” curve between fruit and vegetable consumption and mortality. Compared to those eating five servings of fruits and veggies a day, those only eating four lose a month off their lifespan. Only three servings, lose three months. Then, we start going off the cliff. Two servings a day, we live seven months shorter; one serving practically a year and a half; two years gone at half-serving a day, and then, three years of our lives down the drain.

Just a single serving of fruit, just like one apple, could mean a 19-month difference between life and death. And, one daily salad could mean years more time on this planet.

This study mostly looked at people in their 50s and 60s. Is it too late by our 70s? No. Women in their 70s with the most carotenoid phytonutrients in their bloodstream were twice as likely to survive five years than those with the lowest. Doubling one’s likelihood of survival, just eating some more fruits and vegetables.

In this study out of Taiwan, spending just 50 cents a day on fruits or vegetables appears to buy us about a 10% drop in mortality. That’s quite a bargain. Imagine if there was a drug that—without side effects—could lower our risk of death 10%. How much do you think drug companies would charge? Probably more than 50 cents.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to kona99 via flickr; Brian Arthur, Palosirkka, Sasa Stefanovic, Hindustanilanguage, Borgx, Nard the Bard, and Sasa Stefanovic via Wikimedia; and HolgersFotografie, Johanna84, and PDPics via Pixabay

Doctor's Note

Calculate Your Healthy Eating Score to see how we might maximize the intake of protective foods.

Nuts are technically just a dried fruit with (typically) a single seed, so no wonder Nuts May Help Prevent Death.

Botanically speaking, beans are fruit too. Check out Increased Lifespan from Beans.

The more plants we eat, the more antioxidants we get. Why is this important? See The Power of NO and the Mitochondrial Theory of Aging. Or, in terms of specific diseases, see Food Antioxidants & Cancer and Food Antioxidants, Stroke, & Heart Disease.

Also, the more healthy foods we eat, the less room there is for less healthy foods:

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