New dietary guidelines: how vegetables can save you from premature death

The US Department of Health and Human Services and the USDA have published their recommendations as to the 2020–2025 Nutritional Guidelines for Americans. It says that half of the plate at each meal should be fruit and vegetables.

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In addition, scientists have found that eating five servings of fruits and vegetables daily is associated with a lower risk of premature death, cancer, and other serious illnesses.

A new study from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts has shown that eating at least two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables daily can reduce the risk of premature death. This includes, among other things, death from cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. The results are published on March 1 this year in the American Heart Association’s scientific journal Circulation.

Indeed, adequate intake of fruits and vegetables promotes better absorption of potassium and increased antioxidant activity. This results in a decrease in blood pressure and an improvement in lung function. The downward trend in the risk of premature death is associated with the addition of leafy greens and foods rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene (a precursor of vitamin A) to the diet. Fruits and vegetables that fall into this category include spinach, kale, carrots, and citrus fruits.

At the same time, scientists have not found any benefits from consuming fruit juices or starchy vegetables, which include potatoes, corn, legumes, and beets. Perhaps the reason for this is the popularity of canned food. As a reminder, the canning process can strip starchy vegetables of their antioxidant properties.

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