Three fruit and veg a day are enough according to scientists

Don’t give up on squeezing them in just yet [Photo: Pexels]
Don’t give up on squeezing them in just yet [Photo: Pexels]

First, it was five a day. Then ten a day.

And now, the famous fruit and vegetable intake recommendation could scale back to just three a day, as a study has found that when it comes to life expectancy there aren’t any benefits to be gained from increasing fruit and veg consumption from three a day to five.

Though for those three, portions would be bigger than the current recommendation.

A major international study published in The Lancet observed fruit, vegetable and legume intake in relation to cardiovascular disease and death in 18 different countries.

Researchers documented the diets of 135,335 people aged 35-70 years old from North America, Europe, South America, the Middle East, south Asia, China, southeast Asia, and Africa using country-specific questionnaires.

Fill that bowl higher [Photo: Pexels]
Fill that bowl higher [Photo: Pexels]

They followed up the men and women for median of 7.4 years, during which 5796 of them died.

And they found that higher fruit, vegetable, and legume consumption was associated with a lower risk of death and that those eating at least three servings a day had death rates 22% lower than those who only had one.

They also found that this effect was stronger by eating raw vegetables as opposed to cooked ones.

Importantly, while NHS guidelines consider a portion of your five a day to be 80g of fruit, veg or legumes, in the study it was 125g of fruits or vegetables, or 150g of legumes.

They found that raw vegetables were more beneficial [Photo: Pexels]
They found that raw vegetables were more beneficial [Photo: Pexels]

So while this study suggests we might not need as much variety as our current five a day stipulates, we’d still need to eat almost the same amount of fruit and veg overall.

Study investigator Dr Andrew Mente from McMaster University in Canada told The Telegraph: “Around three to four servings was the amount associated with the maximum benefit, with little further benefit with higher consumption.

“Beyond this, the risk of mortality remains constant with no added benefit with higher level of intake.

“This is good news, because it is much more feasible to achieve three to four servings than it is to achieve more than five servings a day.”

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