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Researchers analysed lifestyle data for more than 65,000 adults aged at least 35 between 2001 and 2008
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have called for the official recommendation for fruit and veg to be increased to seven or more daily portions in order to reduce the risk of an early death.
The team were commenting on research by University College London (UCL) in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (JECH), which found that eating at least seven daily portions had a 40% reduced risk of death from all causes; a 30% reduced risk of heart disease and a 25% reduced risk of death by cancer.
Vegetables and salad
They also found that vegetables and salad to be even more protective than fruit.
Whilst it is known a diet rich in fruit and vegetables has been linked to good health but the evidence for its impact on preventing cancer has been less clear-cut.
Simon Capewell, Professor of Epidemiology at the University’s Institute of Psychology Health and Society, said: “Even those who do manage to eat their five a day, need to eat more. It is perhaps now time to update the ‘five a day’ message to ’10 a day’.
Researchers UCL analysed lifestyle data for more than 65,000 adults aged at least 35 between 2001 and 2008.
Tinned and frozen fruit
The UCL team also found that tinned and frozen fruit increased a person’s risk of premature death by almost 20%.
Public Health experts from Liverpool suggest, in the accompanying JECH editorial, that higher death rates may reflect the high amounts of sugar contained in many brands of canned fruit and this cancels out the positive effects of the fruit itself.
Chris Kypridemos, from the University’s Institute of Psychology Health and Society, added:“This study also found that current dietary guidance includes consumption of dried or tinned fruit, smoothies, and fruit juice as one of the ‘5-a-day’ goal. This, however, might need to be revised as many of these contain more sugar than a 500ml bottle of cola.”
To read the full editorial, please click here.
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