A recent study conducted by Swedish researchers has established that eating less than five servings of fruit and vegetables a day can lead to an increased likelihood of an early death.
The study showed that subjects who reported rarely if ever eating fruit and vegetables died three years earlier, on average, than their arguably healthier counterparts.
How Much Should We be Eating?
The most commonly heard recommendation from public health organizations around the world is that we should be eating five servings of fruit and vegetables each day.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recently published a 13-year study, the results of which tend to suggest that the five-a-day guideline is fairly apt; the researchers observed no increase in survival rates for those who ate more than five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
In contrast, the individuals who said that they eat no fruit or vegetables were found to be 53% more likely to die during the follow-up than those who were consistent in eating five daily servings of fruit and vegetables.
In the interest of fairness, it is important to note here that subjects who report eating less fruit and vegetables tend to lead less healthy lifestyles in general, with them being more likely to smoke, drink alcohol, and eat junk food. The people who reported eating larger amounts of fruit and vegetables generally consumed more calories overall; however, given the apparent higher quality of their nutrition, this is not necessarily a negative marker of health.
How to Eat More Fruit and Vegetables
When it comes to introducing more fruits and vegetables into your diet, always remember that if it’s not in your kitchen, you’re not going to eat it. The same principle applies to junk food, so next time you’re at the store, try replacing some of the snack items such as potato chips with healthier alternatives such as carrot sticks, berries, and apples.
Keeping a stock of fruit and vegetables will use space that would otherwise be taken up by pretzels, donuts, and candy.
Frozen vegetables are often a convenient way of getting out-of-season produce, and frozen berries make a wonderful addition to your morning oatmeal.
A great way to ensure you’re covering all of your nutritional bases, both for yourself and for your family, is to use a service such as eMeals.
With custom-designed meal plans tailored to the size of your family and your eating preferences, eMeals takes the unnecessary hassle out of feeding your family healthy, wholesome, home-cooked meals.
Finally, adopt a more frugal mindset next time you’re in the supermarket; don’t be afraid to check out clearance items which are past their sell-by date because some fruits and vegetables are perfectly fine to eat even when they’re a little overripe.
Always keeping your eyes open for bargains will enable you to feed your family a nutritionally sound diet, even on a tight budget.