Study: Eating Veggies Lengthens Life Span

Study: Eating Veggies Lengthens Life Span

Published: May 22, 2014 Last Updated: January 21, 2024

Once again research has emerged which confirms the importance of consuming a high amount of fruit and vegetables each day. We all know we SHOULD be eating a certain amount of vegetables and fruits, BUT do we consistently manage to fit it into our diet? The World Health Organisation says that most of us are not!!

Often there is ambiguity about what actually constitutes a serve of vegetables:

  • 1 SERVE VEGGIES = half a cup of cooked vegetables or one whole cup of raw vegetables.
  • 1 SERVE FRUIT = half a cup of cooked fruit or one whole cup of raw fruit.

The minimum amount recommended by health professionals is five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit per day. Our Natural Health Practitioners suggest thinking of this as like earning a minimum wage – it should be the starting point for consumption within the diet, not the maximum goal achieved.

New research - eat healthy for a long life

New research has emerged showing that by doubling the recommended intake of fruits and vegetables can ensure a longer life. A 12-year study found that eating at least seven portions per day of fresh produce, particularly vegetables, provided a protective effect and significantly reduced the risk of premature death in adults. Those with the highest intakes, over ten serves, reduced their chances of dying of heart disease by 31% and from cancer by 25%. This means that the protective effect extends to potentially preventing cancer, which is a huge step forward in cancer research.

Reduce risk of pre-term delivery

Additionally, a study recently published by the British Medical Journal has shown that high intake of fruits and vegetables during pregnancy can reduce the risk of pre-term delivery by 15%. This is a very significant and important finding, as premature babies are at a higher risk of being born with and developing respiratory, cardiac and neural defects.

Nutrient intake rather than calories consumed

These days, we tend to focus on calories consumed and calories burned, rather than our actual nutrient intake. We regard the piece of vegemite toast eaten on the run in the morning as part of life and part of a balanced diet, but we don’t think about what nutrients we have missed out on when not providing our body with a more wholesome breakfast. The same goes for lunch and dinner, which can often be thrown together at the last minute with pantry items lacking necessary nutrients. Eating well takes ORGANISATION, IMAGINATION AND PREPARATION but the benefits far outweigh the effort!

Thankfully, the studies are now proving that increasing intake of healthy fruits and vegetables is more important than excluding less healthy foods, so as long as you are making up those missed nutrients by having a MINIMUM of five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit somewhere throughout day, then you can keep enjoying your Vegemite toast, pasta, or bowl of ice cream!

Keep an eye out for our next blog post which will include tips on how to save time in the kitchen but still incorporate fruit and vegetables into your daily schedule. - Saving time in the kitchen


Englund-Ogge L et al, 2014, Maternal Dietary Patterns and Preterm Delivery – Results from large prospective cohort study, BMJ, view online

Oyebode, O et al, 2014, Fruit and vegetable consumption and all-cause, cancer and CVD mortality: analysis of Health Survey for England data, Journal Epidemiology and Community Health, view online

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