Fruits and Vegetables – Especially Vegetables – Proven to Extend Life
Something we already probably know but remained to be proven – research from Swedish medical researchers has determined that eating a plenty of fruits and vegetables will extend our lifespan.
The researchers, from Stockholm’s Institute of Environmental Medicine at the Karolinska Institute, studied the diets and death rates of 71,706 Swedish people between the ages of 45 and 83 years old, over a thirteen-year period.
During that thirteen-year period, 11,439 deaths occurred – 6,803 among the men and 4,636 among the women.
The researchers gave each participant – 38,221 of whom were men and 33,485 of whom were women – a question regarding their diets.
The researchers found that those who said they never consumed fruits and vegetables died an average of three years sooner than did participants who said they consumed at least five total servings of fruits and/or vegetables per day.
Those who did not eat the fruits and vegetables also had a 53% higher death rate.
The researchers also broke out the mortality rates between those who ate or didn’t eat fruit and those who ate or didn’t eat vegetables. They found that those who did not consume fruit died an average of 19 months before those who did consume at least one fruit per day.
But those who did not eat vegetables died an average of 32 months sooner than those who ate at least three vegetables a day.
The researchers concluded rather simply:
“Fruit and vegetable consumption of less than five servings a day is associated with progressively shorter survival and higher mortality rates.”
This study confirms a similar study that focused instead on the consumption of vegetables. Researchers from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine studied 134,796 Chinese adults, and compared their diets with their death rates, for ten years and four years.
This study found that mortality rates ranged from 9% lower to 22% lower as their vegetable intake was increased, with the lowest mortality rates among those who consumed more cruciferous vegetables.
Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, watercress, cauliflower, collards, kale, turnips, rutabaga, mustard seeds, radish, daikon, wasabi, arugula, komatsuna, cress, horseradish and even rapeseed (canola is a rapeseed hybrid).
Cruciferous veggies contain numerous constituents that improve liver function and stimulate the immune system. These include sulforaphane and allyl isothiocyanate – which was shown in a study from the University of Pittsburgh to inhibit prostate cancer cells.
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Zhang X, Shu XO, Xiang YB, Yang G, Li H, Gao J, Cai H, Gao YT, Zheng W. Cruciferous vegetable consumption is associated with a reduced risk of total and cardiovascular disease mortality. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Jul;94(1):240-6.
Xiao D, Srivastava SK, Lew KL, Zeng Y, Hershberger P, Johnson CS, Trump DL, Singh SV. Allyl isothiocyanate, a constituent of cruciferous vegetables, inhibits proliferation of human prostate cancer cells by causing G2/M arrest and inducing apoptosis. Carcinogenesis. 2003 May;24(5):891-7.