If you already consider fruits and veggies a central part of your diet, consider eating even more.
That’s because when it comes to lengthening your life, the more produce you eat, the better, a comprehensive research review published Thursday in the International Journal of Epidemiology suggests.
Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), who conducted the study, estimated that if people ate eight servings of fruits and veggies per day — rather than the commonly recommended five — 7.8 million deaths could be saved worldwide.
After looking at 142 relevant publications from 95 different population studies, researchers inferred that consuming the 500 grams of produce that corresponds to five fruit and veggie servings is helpful for health, but eating an additional 200 grams of produce daily corresponded to a nearly 11 percent decrease in premature death rates. The benefits capped out at an intake of 800 grams of fruits and veggies daily.
The meta-analysis found that fruits and veggies rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber, potassium and flavonoids, were among the most beneficial types of produce for increasing longevity. Canned fruit, meanwhile, were associated with higher rates of early death and heart disease.
Researchers noted supplements did not have the same protective effects as the whole foods.
Some of the best life-lengthening foods include apples, pears, citrus fruit and green, leafy vegetables, they said.
"However, we need more studies on specific types of fruit and vegetables because relatively few of the studies in our analysis had looked at this issue,” lead study author Dagfinn Aune, of NTNU and Imperial College London, said in a news release.