The Green Scoop

Fruits and Vegetables as an Integral Part of Your Diet

Fruits and Vegetables as an Integral Part of Your Diet

This may be old news to some, but there’s new research that says not eating enough fruits and vegetables has actually caused 2.8 million deaths per year.

Our parents and guardians would always remind us: Eat your fruits and vegetables. Now, it makes more sense because studies have revealed that globally, millions and millions of death from heart disease and strokes are reported each year. It is concluded that low fruit and vegetable intake has caused this.

"Fruits and vegetables are a modifiable component of diet that can impact preventable deaths globally," said lead study author Victoria Miller, a postdoctoral researcher at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. "Our findings indicate the need for population- based efforts to increase fruit and vegetable consumption throughout the world."

Data from 2010 says that a breakdown of very minimal fruit intake has resulted in 1.3 million deaths from stroke, while 520,000 deaths are from coronary heart disease. While the remaining 800,000 deaths were caused by stroke because of minimal vegetable consumption. The data thatwas used came from 113 countries, which basically is around 82% of the world’s population.

As observed, countries in South Asia, East Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa are the ones that had low fruit intake. Therefore, higher rates of death associated with stroke. In countries like Oceania andCentral Asia, they had a low vegetable intake that’s associated with coronary heart diseases.

In the United States, despite the abundance of natural resources, it is said that there were 82,000 cardiovascular-related deaths due to not eating vegetables. While there were 57,000 deaths were linked to not eating enough fruits.

The researchers are now recommending dietary guidelines that we should follow to avoid the risk of diseases. For fruits, we should take about 300 grams per day which is equal to 2 small apples. For vegetables, it should equal to 400 grams per day which is equivalent to 3 cups of raw carrots.

"Global nutrition priorities have traditionally focused on providing sufficient calories, vitamin supplementation and reducing additives like salt and sugar," said senior study author Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

"These findings indicate a need to expand the focus to increasing availability and consumption of protective foods like fruits, vegetables and legumes—a positive message with tremendous potential for improving global health."

Here’s a breakdown of the daily fruit recommendation:

  • Women 19 to 30 years old: 2 cups
  •  Women 31+ years old: 1 1⁄2 cups

Men 19 years old and up: 2 cups Daily Vegetable recommendation:  

  •  Women 19 to 30 years old: 2 1⁄2 cups
  •  Women 31 to 50 years old: 2 1⁄2 cups
  •  Women 51+ years old: 2 cups
  •  Men 19 to 30 years old: 3 cups
  •  Men 31 to 50 years old: 3 cups
  • Men 51+ years old: 2 1⁄2 cups

While it doesn’t necessarily mean that deaths would equate to issues because of not eating fruits and vegetables; eating produce is essential for a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. A healthy diet will reduce risks of chronic diseases and will provide your body with enough nutrients that would aid in the health and maintenance of your cells. Thus, making it an essential part of your diet nevertheless.