Five daily servings of fruits and veggies enough for health benefit

Eating five daily servings of fruits and vegetables may significantly lower the risk of death, but eating more than that doesn’t appear to provide additional health benefits, according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and colleagues.

In a meta-analysis of 16 studies involving more than 833,000 participants, the researchers found that each daily serving of fruits or vegetables was associated with a 5% lower risk of mortality, so that eating five servings a day lowered the risk by 25%. But eating more than that didn’t lower the risk further.

Senior author Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at HSPH, said in a July 29, 2014 Philadelphia Inquirer article that it is possible the human body may only be able to process a certain amount of fruits and vegetables each day, so that “the availability of nutrients and other bioactive compounds of these foods may have reached a plateau at five servings per day for most people.”

The study, which also involved colleagues from several Chinese academic institutions and from the National Institutes of Health, appeared in The British Medical Journal (BMJ).

Read the Philadelphia Inquirer article: Fruits, Veggies May Have Their Limits in Boosting Lifespan

Read the study: Fruit and vegetable consumption and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort

Learn more

Vegetables and Fruits: Get Plenty Every Day (HSPH Nutrition Source)