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Is the Anti-Aging Fountain of Youth in the Produce Aisle?

Your Anti-Aging Prescription

Your Anti-Aging Prescription

Surely, you have seen articles and ads for the latest exotic oil or fruit extract that can reverse aging, restore vitality, and even make you more popular. Remember how Ponce de Leon looked for the mythical Fountain of Youth in Florida. Perhaps he should have just been looking for an orange grove, and maybe you should simply check out the produce section in your local grocery store when you need an anti-aging miracle.

Forbes reported on a British study that concludes that eating seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day may be the magic key to living longer. Consider the results of this study on anti-aging:

  • A random and representative survey of 65,000 British people found that people who ate more fruit and vegetables every day were less likely to pass away from any cause.
  • In particular, they were less likely to die from a stroke, heart disease, or cancer, and these are typically diseases associated with aging.
  • The more they ate, the better their chances were for a long life.

Is Seven Servings of Produce Your Lucky Number?

The survey followed the participants for 7 years. It’s interesting, that the lucky number 7 keeps popping up. About 4,400 of the survey participants passed away during this period for a variety of reasons which included natural causes and accidents. Those who reported consuming seven or more servings of fruit and vegetables each day were actually 42 percent less likely to pass away than those who who reported eating one or less servings each day.

Even people who consumed less than seven servings of produce a day, got some benefits. Compare the chance of dying with people who managed to eat more than seven servings or fruits and vegetables a day:

  • One to three servings: These people enjoyed a 14 percent reduced chance of mortality.
  • Three to five servings: This is associated with a 29 percent lower chance of death.
  • Five to seven servings: This is associated with a 35 percent lower chance of death.

Even when risk factors were accounted for, these trends still held very strong. In other words, they still held when people who smoked, drank a lot, weighed too much, etc. were matched.

Are vegetables or fruit better?

Apparently vegetables performed slightly better than fruit. Each additional daily serving of vegetables was associated with a 16 percent mortality reduction, and each additional daily serving of fruit was associated with a 10 percent mortality reduction. Oh, are tomatoes and avocados vegetables or fruits?

Does this Prove Fruits and Vegetables are Anti-Aging Miracles?

Of course, you can get into the old argument about correlation and causation again.This study establishes a solid connection, but it does not prove that fruit, and especially vegetables contribute to a longer life. It is entirely possible that people who tend to consume a lot of produce don’t eat as many sugary snacks, prepare healthy meals at home more, or do other things that nobody has thought of to extend their lives.

However, it would be just as easy to argue that if you were to adopt the habit of eating more fruit and veggies, you might magically drop some of your more adverse habits too. In a previous post, attention was called to the link between inflammation and age-related diseases, and a diet rich in produce was also suggested to help reduce inflammation. This study certainly seems to back that up, but the previous recommendation was only to consumer three to five servings, so maybe this should be increased.

Is it Expensive to Eat Seven Servings of Fruit and Vegetables a Day?

If you are replacing junk food with fruit and vegetables, it may actually be frugal to up your intake. This is also true if you plan to eat at home more in order to plan healthier meals.

Here are some tips to save money on fruit and vegetables:

  • Buy in-season fruit and vegetables.
  • Frozen and canned vegetables seem just fine. With canned fruit, watch the added sugar.
  • Grow your own. The extra sunshine and exercise of starting a garden will only be good for you.


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