Another Reason to OD on Fruits and Veggies

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It's no secret that shopping in the produce aisle is really good for you. And now we know just how good: Eating seven or more servings of fruit and vegetables daily may decrease your risk of death by 42 percent compared to eating less than one serving, according to a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. [Tweet this fact!]

University College London researchers analyzed the Health Survey for England, which looked at the eating habits of more than 65,000 Brits between 2001 and 2013. In addition to finding that this recommended amount can cut the risk of death by cancer by 25 percent and heart disease by 31 percent, they also discovered that certain foods have stronger protective effects than others. For example, salad offered a reduced death risk of 13 percent per portion, while a portion of fresh fruit had a smaller reduction of only 4 percent.

Based on this new data, Frances Largeman-Roth, R.D., author of the new book Eating in Color, created a sample menu to show that you can eat that much produce in one day.

Breakfast: Avocado smoothie
Blend 1/2 avocado, 1/2 banana, 1/4 cup ice, 1/4 cup lowfat vanilla yogurt, 3/4 cup coconut water, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.
1 serving fruit

Morning snack: Yogurt with toppings
Mix 6 ounces plain Greek yogurt with 1 cup diced fresh mango, 7 walnuts, and 2 tablespoons chia seeds.
1 serving fruit

RELATED: 20 Fresh Spring Recipes for Any Diet

Lunch: Tuna wrap
Mix 1 3-ounce can water-packed tuna (drained) with lemon juice, 1 dash sea salt, and 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil. Place on a whole-wheat tortilla and add 1 cup arugula and 1/4 cup sliced bell pepper. Roll up and serve with 12 baby carrots.
2.25 servings vegetables

Afternoon snack: Veggies with cheese
5 cherry tomatoes (1/4 cup), 1 cup raw sugar-snap peas, and 1 mozzarella cheese stick
1.25 servings vegetables

Dinner: Grilled chicken kale salad
Toss 2 cups chopped kale with 1 sliced watermelon radish, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon olive oil, salt, and pepper. Top with grilled skinless chicken breast.
Vegetable servings:1.25

Dessert: Cherries and almonds
1/2 cup dried tart cherries and 1 ounce almonds
1 serving fruit

TOTAL: 3 servings fruit, 4.75 servings veggies

What do you think of this new study? How do you ensure you fit the recommended amount of produce into your diet? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @Shape_Magazine!

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