The power of five — servings a day

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“Five Easy Pieces,” Jack Nicholson’s 1970 film, gave us one way (not recommended) to order breakfast if you want tomatoes and whole-wheat toast with your omelet but that’s not allowed. Fortunately, it isn’t actually that hard to get your daily dose of healthy fruits and vegetables — especially now that we know the basic formula to shoot for: five servings a day — two of fruit and three of vegetables.

Harvard researchers’ recent analysis published in the journal Circulation looked at results from almost 30 studies and found that if you eat five servings of fruits and veggies a day, you’ll live the longest; two servings of fruit and three of vegetables were optimal. Eating more than that, they say, didn’t extend longevity, but Dr. Mike has data showing that nine servings daily, replacing all simple carbs, provides maximum benefits.

Either way, eating less than five servings is risky. Folks in the Harvard study who ate just two servings a day of fruits and vegetables were 12% more likely to die from cardiovascular disease, 10% more likely to die from cancer and 35% more likely to die from respiratory diseases.

Not all fruits and vegetables convey benefits, however: Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes and corn, and fruit juices didn’t lower the risk of chronic disease or death. But green, leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale, citrus fruits and berries, and carrots provided the health-promoting benefits. So, upgrade your nutrition — and protect your health. All it takes is five easy pieces a day!

(c)2021 Michael Roizen, M.D.

and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

King Features Syndicate

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