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How Much is More: Try 7

Patients who come through the program often say, “I know I should be eating more fruits and vegetables.” That tells me the health industry in the U.S. has been sending a clear message that Americans are not eating sufficient fruits and vegetables. So I ask back, “How much more should you be eating?” Rarely do I get a response. Unfortunately, the message is not completely clear and puts a lot of responsibility on people without enabling them to act on it.

Good news! Dr. Oyinlola Oyebode and colleagues from the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London found exactly how many portions of vegetables and fruit will help reduce all-cause mortality from heart disease and cancer. Seven portions of vegetables and fruit will help reduce rate of mortality by 42%. Vegetables are more beneficial than fruit at reducing risk.

Rather than measuring out specific portion sizes, the easiest way to think of a portion is to make a fist with your hand. The size of your fist is specific to your body size. Think 7 fists of vegetables and fruit every day! It may look like a large volume of food, but you may notice that as you increase your vegetable and fruit consumption, it replaces other foods in your diet. It’s actually a great way to shed excess body fat as well.

By Kyla Bauer, Exercise Physiologist, PN1 Coach
By Suat Eman, published on 25 January 2009