day 27 Live Long and Prosper

This is a follow up to several other posts I’ve made this month.

First, I’ve been telling you that eating produce is good for you, and this long-term study (one of the best kind) shows how good.

According to The Week, April 18, 2014, “Tracking the self-reported eating habits of more than 65,000 people over 12 years, researchers at University College London found that those who consumed seven or more daily portions--each roughly half a cup--of fresh fruits or vegetables reduced their risk of death during the study period by 42 percent, The Washington Post reports.”

Yesterday’s post said that eating vegetables helps prevent heart disease, and this study confirms this. “Consuming that same amount dropped the specific risk of dying from cancer by 25 percent, and from heart disease by 31 percent. ‘The size of the effect is staggering,’ says researcher Oyinlola Oyebode.” 

The effect size is one way we can tell how strong the data is, and Oyebode is saying it’s very strong. The study’s authors remind us that the study shows correlation, not causation. Eating fresh vegetables is associated with good health, but the study can’t say for certain that the vegetables cause that good health. Studies such as these control for other factors, though, and we know how important the nutrients in produce are. It’s not a big leap to conclude that eating produce is an important part of our good health.

While eating 3 1/2 cups of produce (primarily vegetables) daily is best, this study showed, “Even minimal consumption had a measurable impact: Eating one to three daily portions cut the risk of death by 14 percent.” Even eating 1/2 cup a day will make a difference. 

Another point I made in yesterday’s post was that it was better to eat than drink our vegetables. This study confirms we want our veggies fresh. 

We also should avoid commercial juices, which are not fresh and are primarily fruit instead of vegetables juice.  The study also found that fruit juices did not have an effect on our health. So drinking fruit juice may be fun, but it won’t improve our health, at least according to this study. 

When we add sugar to our fruit, the study shows a negative effect on our health. “Fresh vegetables provided the biggest benefit, with each portion reducing overall risk of death by 16 percent. Consuming canned fruits, however, actually increased the statistical risk, likely due to the added sugar used in processing. Fruit juices had no effect at all.”