No benefit to eating more than five daily servings of produce, study suggests
The US government recommends that American adults eat 5 to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables depending on your age, gender, and activity level, but a new Harvard School of Public Health study suggests we don’t get additional health benefits if we eat more than five servings a day.
After analyzing 16 studies involving 833,000 participants who filled out dietary surveys, the researchers from Harvard and China discovered that each daily serving of produce was associated with a 5 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease or cancer during the studies, which lasted up to 25 years. Eating five servings a day, for example, lowered the risk of dying by 25 percent — but so did eating six or seven servings, according to the results published last Tuesday in the British Medical Journal.
“The reduction in mortality plateaued at five [servings] a day, and five a day is a good target to achieve maximum health benefits in reducing mortality,” said study coauthor Frank Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, via e-mail from China.
Is there any harm to over-indulging on the kale, celery, and sliced strawberries?
Likely not, since the research didn’t find any negative health effects in those who ate six or more servings a day, according to Hu.
Still, it’s a smart move to “diversify plant-based foods,” he said, adding nuts, legumes, and whole grains to salads to get a wider range of nutrients.