You’ve probably already heard that a healthy diet can help reduce a host of diseases and conditions, as well as help improve how your body looks and performs.
But now, a new study is singling out one food group in particular as the one that can really help save your life.
But…there’s a catch.
According toHealthDay, researchers analyzed the eating habits of more than 65,000 people in England between 2001 and 2013. Their findings?
People who ate seven or more portions of fresh fruits and vegetables a day (twice the recommended amount in the United States) had a 42 percent lower risk of premature death at any age.
People who ate five to seven potions of produce had a 36 percent lower risk of death.
People who ate three to five potions of produce had a 29 percent lower risk of death.
“We all know that eating fruit and vegetables is healthy, but the size of the effect is staggering,” study author Oyinlola Oyebode, at the department of epidemiology and public health of University College London, said in a university news release.
Are Fruit Or Veggies More Important?
The researchers behind the study also say that eating more vegetables is somewhat more important than eating more fruit. Fresh vegetables reduced overall premature death risks by 16 percent. Fresh fruit reduced this risk by 4 percent.
“Vegetables have a larger effect than fruit, but fruit still makes a real difference. If you’re happy to snack on carrots or other vegetables, then that is a great choice but if you fancy something sweeter, a banana or any fruit will also do you good,” Oyebode added.
It is important to note that the study found that canned fruit actually appeared to increase the risk of death by 17 percent, more than likely due to the high levels of sugar typically found in many varieties of canned fruit.
5 Ways To Get In More Fruits & Vegetables Every Day
Drink fruit (and veggie) smoothies for breakfast. When you’re making that morning smoothie, throw in a few extra pieces of fruit…and a handful of kale or spinach as well. The sweet and fruity taste will actually mask the flavor of the vegetables.
Eat more soup for lunch. Water-based soups are a great, and filling, way to incorporate more vegetables in your diet.
Eat a salad with dinner. Not only will you fill up on healthy vegetables, but eating a salad before your main course will help prevent you from overeating anything that comes afterwards.
Change up your greens. Instead of light green veggies, such as iceburg lettuce, switch things up and build your salads with kale and spinach, which pack more of a nutritional punch.
Eat dessert. Enjoy a cup of berries, or another favorite fruit, drizzled with dark chocolate sauce.