An investigation by experts from University College London (UCL), who studied the cases of 65,226 men and women, concluded that the higher the proportion of fruits and vegetables consumed, the lower the possibility of dying at any age.

Fruits and vegetables extend life

This research by experts from University College London, covered the period from 2001 to 2008 and took into account general mortality rates, as well as deaths from cancer , heart attacks and strokes.

The investigation revealed that the risk of premature death from any cause decreased when consumption of fruits and vegetables a person was higher.

The risk of death from any cause during that period was reduced: by 14% when eating one to three servings of fruits and vegetables a day; 29% between three and five servings a day; 36% between five and seven servings; and 42% between seven and more (up to ten servings) of these foods during the day.

This study joins many others that show the beneficial effect of the consumption of fruits and vegetables in our daily diet. What is this about?

Fruits and vegetables, source of fiber and water

Fruits and vegetables provide a large amount of water as their weight contains between 75 to 95% water, they provide vitamins such as vitamin C , folic acid, B complex vitamins, vitamin A and vitamin K and E. Among the contributions in minerals, potassium, magnesium , calcium, iron and phosphorus stand out. They are low in sodium and fruits and vegetables are an important source of fiber that is essential for good digestion.

Consuming fresh fruits and vegetables daily helps us prevent different diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, digestive disorders such as constipation, some types of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as helping us in the fight against overweight and obesity.

They provide us with few calories (less than 70 kcal per 100 grams of edible part) and saturated fats (less than 1% of its weight, with exceptions such as avocado with 12% of its weight), and help us reduce the ingestion of other foods because they make us feel full.

They are easy to prepare foods, because they are simple to cook and very easy to find in local markets.

On the other hand, it should be noted that both fruits and vegetables, as they are foods of plant origin, do not contain cholesterol.

5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day contribute to a balanced diet

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has been proposing for several years the consumption of at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day to contribute to a balanced diet and play an important role at any stage of life. They are foods well accepted by the elderly, basic during adulthood and essential for the formation of good eating habits in childhood and adolescence.

The distribution of these foods is simple proposing to consume 3 servings of fruit daily. Consume 1 serving of salads and vegetables for lunch and dinner and even better if we add a serving of fruit to the morning and afternoon snacks, this is especially important in the student population.

How to consume fruits and vegetables for better use

  • The fruits can be consumed preferably natural but also in the form of juices, crushed with vegetable milk or yogurt and even roasted .
  • Citrus fruits are an important source of vitamin C and mango, melon, peach are an important source of vitamin A.
  • Vegetables can be eaten raw in salads, grilled, steamed, cooked.
  • Red and green Chiltoma, cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, tomato are important sources of vitamin C.
  • Carrots, peppers, spinach, tomatoes, and parsley are important sources of vitamin A.
  • If they are cooked, the skin should be preserved and use little water which can be used in the preparation of other dishes such as rice for example to take advantage of soluble substances.
  • If we are going to cut the vegetables, let’s do it in large pieces or julienne and simply wash it and do not let it soak.
  • The cooking time must be sufficient to avoid overheating that affects its color and avoid overheating as this causes them to lose nutritional substances.

Menu example:

  • Breakfast: Fruit salad
  • Mid-morning: 1 mango
  • Lunch: Mixed salad with lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber
    Vegetable dish such as pipian stew
  • Afternoon snack: 1 banana
  • Dinner: Salad. Tomatoes, chiltoma, olives, cooked potato
    Plate of cooked broccoli and cauliflower, although it is preferable to consume these foods in the early hours of the day to avoid gas formation at night.

To this menu, you just need to add the protein source of your choice and other sources of carbohydrates such as brown rice, legumes, whole grains, plant-based fats to complete a balanced eating plan.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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