“An apple a day, keeps the doctor away” so quotes the popular saying. To be exact, two apples and three servings of carrots is the amount of fruit and vegetables to eat every day to protect us from heart attack and stroke, as well as save our lives. This was revealed by a study presented at Nutrition 2019, the congress of the American Society of Nutrition, which takes place every year in Baltimore (USA). The survey, carried out by a group of researchers from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston, is part of a larger project: the “Global Dietary Database” funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
HOW TO AVOID ALMOST 3 MILLION DEATHS A YEAR
The starting point, referring to 2010, is that a low consumption of fruit and vegetables causes more than 2.8 million deaths worldwide each year from cardiovascular diseases. On the one hand, a low fruit intake led to over 1.8 million deaths, respectively from stroke (1.3 million) and coronary heart disease (more than 520 thousand). On the other hand, a low consumption of vegetables has caused 1 million deaths, including strokes (200 thousand) and coronary heart diseases (800 thousand). Specifically, eating little fruit has a more negative impact, almost double, compared to low consumption of vegetables. Furthermore, the risk increases in men (who most likely eat fewer fruits and vegetables than women) and in young adults (who should be free from acute vascular episodes).
To arrive at these results, the researchers quantified the national average consumption of fruit and vegetables in 113 countries (which represent approximately 82% of the world population), based on surveys related to diet in the various states participating in the study. The collected information collected was cross-referenced with clinical data on cardiovascular risk linked to low consumption of fruit and vegetables, as well as on the causes of death in each country. In this way, it has been estimated that eating little fruit causes one death in 7, while a low consumption of vegetables leads to one death in 12.
TWO APPLES A DAY AND 12 RAW CARROTS EXTEND LIFE
Based on clinical studies related to cardiovascular risk and Dietary Guidelines, the researchers defined the optimal intake of 1) 1 fruit, 300 g (10.5 oz) per day, which is equivalent to about 2 small apples, and of 2) 2 vegetables (including legumes) of 400 g (14 oz) per day, which corresponds to about 12 raw carrots. Fruits, vegetables, and legumes are sources of substances (potassium, magnesium, antioxidants, phenols, and fiber) that help keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control. In addition, they help improve the quality and well-being of the intestinal microbiota (trillions of cells, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi in the gut). In addition, in general, those who follow a healthy diet rich in fruit and vegetables are less likely to be overweight or obese, conditions also linked to increased cardiovascular risk. In any case, experts recommend consuming the right amount of fruit and legumes every day, with a view to improving the health of individuals globally.
https://meeting.nutrition.org/2019/ (last viewed 02/09/2022)
https://www.globaldietarydatabase.org/ (last viewed 02/09/2022)