Few today question the positive health effects of an abundant consumption of fruit and vegetables. According to a recent study, consuming 5 servings a day of vegetables increases life expectancy, as it reduces the incidence of chronic diseases such as cancer or cardiovascular disease.
Nevertheless, it is good to remember that to enjoy these benefits it is important to take macronutrients in optimal proportions. Satisfying protein and fat needs are equally essential. Both of these elements are involved in numerous physiological processes.
2 portions of fruit and 3 of vegetables
The consumption of vegetables must be given priority over that of fruit. The reason for this is that vegetables usually have a higher concentration of phytonutrients. These compounds are essential for neutralizing the formation of free radicals, an aspect that is associated with the prevention of complex diseases.
According to research published in the journal Circulation, it is important to ensure the presence of vegetables in the diet in order to improve the effectiveness of physiological processes, thus keeping inflammatory states under control.
It must be taken into account that an excessive course of inflammatory states could generate various health problems.
To enjoy an optimal state of health, it is advisable to include foods of plant origin in all main meals. Additionally, fruit can also be included in mid-morning or mid-afternoon snacks to improve overall vitamin and antioxidant intake.
Some fruits and vegetables are better than others
It must also be remembered that not all plants enjoy the same properties. Exotic fruits, for example, have a higher concentration of phytonutrients. These compounds help prevent various diseases including cancer, according to a study published in Current Pharmaceutical Design.
Likewise, brightly colored vegetables or crucifers also improve our health more efficiently than others.
Broccoli is a good example since some scientific evidence indicates that these vegetables contain essential substances to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular diseases.
Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables
While there is some consensus that the optimal amount of fruit and vegetables to consume each day is 5 servings, this does not mean that more is not possible.
More consumption, in fact, could offer additional benefits. In particular, it is very important to ensure a good variety, combining products with different colors in order to receive a greater supply of nutrients.
In addition, it is important to alternate between the consumption of raw and cooked vegetables. Physico-chemical processes can alter the availability of some nutrients they contain. In this sense, it is good that a good part of the ingested vegetables has not been subjected to aggressive cooking methods.
To receive all the nutrients offered by these foods, it is also advisable to consume the vegetable cooking broth, which contains a large number of water-soluble vitamins. Wasting it would therefore be a sin.
The scientific study
Returning to the study published in the journal Circulation, the scientists analyzed the diet of over 2 million subjects: a very large sample. It emerged that the risk of death decreased significantly, by 12%, in subjects who consumed 5 portions a day of fruit and vegetables.
It was also found that in the same subjects respiratory diseases had a 35% lower incidence and prevalence. The same was true of various types of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
However, it was not possible to establish a correlation between higher vegetable consumption and a further reduction in the risk of death. Finally, the most beneficial vegetables for health were those with green leaves or bright colors, which contain high levels of vitamin C and beta-carotene.
To live longer, consume more fruits and vegetables
In light of what has been said, the consumption of at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables throughout the day is effective in preventing chronic and complex health.
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