It’s no secret that you should eat some fruit and vegetables every day to reduce the risk of health problems, but what is the ideal ratio? According to a new study from the American Heart Association, around five servings of fruit and vegetables daily is ideal for living longer, but you’ll need more veggies than fruit to see the benefit.
Recommendations about the ideal number of daily fruit and vegetable servings is fairly inconsistent; for its part, the American Heart Association recommends four to five servings of both every day. A number of past studies have linked veggie and fruit intake with better health and lowered odds of developing certain diseases.
This latest study from the AHA — which used data from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study — found that getting around five servings daily was ideal for reducing death risk. Eating more than five servings daily wasn’t linked to extra benefits, however.
When it comes to living a long life, the data indicates that it’s better to get around three servings of vegetables every day and around two servings of fruit. The higher daily fruit and vegetable intake were linked to a lower risk for multiple diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and respiratory diseases, as well as all-cause death risk.
The study points out that not all vegetables and fruit are the same, though, and some weren’t associated with the aforementioned benefits. These include starchy vegetables like corn and potatoes, as well as fruit juices. The benefits were instead associated with things like berries, citrus fruits, and carrots, as well as other products with high levels of vitamin C and beta carotene.