The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, known as EPIC, is a huge ongoing study involving ten countries. Very recently they published in the American Journal of Epidemiology an analysis of vegetable and fruit consumption as it relates to mortality. We’re probably all aware of the benefits of eating vegetables and fruits, but this research is interesting since it highlights the role these foods seem to have in reducing long-term risk of death.
The study was large and long term, including more than 450,000 participants from 10 European countries, who were recruited to the study between the years 1992 and 2000. Researchers followed the participants until the year 2010. Various analysis of the results showed that the more vegetables and fruits consumed by a person, the lower that person’s risk of all-cause mortality. This association, or reduced risk, was even more significant for the risk of death from cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke).
The results suggest that a combined total fruit and vegetable consumption of more than 569 grams a day lowers the risk of death by 10% when compared to a consumption of less than 249 grams per day. In addition, for every 200-gram increase in total daily fruit and vegetable consumption, the risk falls by 6%.
When looking at the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, a diet high in vegetables and fruits reduces the risk by 15%. In addition, over 4% of deaths due to cardiovascular disease could be prevented by consuming more than 400 grams total of these foods daily.