We should eat even more fruits and vegetables

Update the “nutritional benchmarks” of the National Nutrition and Health Program (PNNS) launched in 2001, at the origin of the famous phrase “Eat 5 fruits and vegetables a day”. One program analyzed 1,342 foods and linked diets to certain chronic diseases in light of the latest scientific studies.

The result is to repeat an intangible principle: if the “ideal plate” does not exist, you must eat varied and balanced, and exercise to live in good health.

The new recommendation would be 8 servings of fruits and vegetables a day

Five servings of fruits and vegetables a day is insufficient! While only 31% of French people reach this minimum, ANSES now estimates that it “must be considerably increased” around … “eight servings a day,” says François Mariotti.

In addition to vitamins and minerals, fruits and vegetables contain powerful antioxidants and fibers that help prevent overweight, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancers. The higher the consumption, the more the benefits are.

Thus, with 10 daily servings of fruits and vegetables, 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide could be prevented, says a recent meta-analysis (1). The risk of stroke drops by 33%, cardiovascular disease by 28% and cancer by 13%.

Apples, pears, citrus fruits, salads, green and yellow vegetables, brassicaceae (cabbages …) are the most protective.

In practice, a portion represents 80 to 100 g. The equivalent of a banana, two apricots, five strawberries, a handful of green beans, a tomato, a bowl of soup, a fruit salad.

For vegetables

It is recommended to eat at least 30 g per day when our consumption peaks between 5 and 10 g. Legumes are as high in protein as meat or fish.

They provide complex carbohydrates, mainly starch, which are slowly absorbed by the body to produce the energy it needs, contribute to the satiety effect and regulate blood sugar levels.

Pulses contain fibers that facilitate intestinal transit, vitamins B and minerals: 100 g provide 30 to 50 mg of magnesium, 2 to 3 mg of iron and 1 g of potassium. A study of 130,000 people followed for 32 years suggests that a 3% increase in vegetable protein intake reduces the risk of death by 10% and cardiovascular disease by 12% (2).

Reduce consumption of meat and cold cuts

Consumption of processed meat (processed meats, dried beef, canned meats and sauces) was classified as “carcinogenic to humans” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (CIR) in 2015. It should not exceed 25 g per day. Each additional 50 g daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.

The consumption of red meat, pork and veal must be less than 500 g per week.

It has been classified as a “probable carcinogen” for humans, mainly for colorectal cancer and, to a lesser extent, pancreas and prostate cancer (3). In 20% of asthmatics, excess charcuterie is also associated with a worsening of symptoms (4).

Fish and eggs make up for the vitamin B12, iron and protein in red meat.

Stop sweet drinks

Whether it’s sodas, fruit juices (including pure juice) or nectars, sugary drinks should be limited to less than one drink a day. Several studies have demonstrated the impact of sodas in overweight and obesity in children. Regular consumption of sugary drinks is also responsible for 184,000 deaths a year worldwide, of which 133,000 are related to diabetes, 45,000 to cardiovascular diseases and 6,400 to cancers (5).

In the line of sight: added sugars.

American researchers have warned of the harmful role of fructose in the development of type 2 diabetes (6). Naturally present in small quantities in fruits or honey, this sugar is added in high doses in drinks or industrial foods, especially corn syrup.

Refuel omega 3

Rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the precursor of omega 3, rapeseed and nut oils must be used every day.

Numerous studies indicate that these essential fatty acids are involved in the prevention of cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases (7).

These oils also have a good ratio omega 3 / omega 6, whose contributions must be balanced to be properly assimilated by the body. However, there is on average 12 times more omega 6 than omega 3 in our diet. With a ratio of 1/2 (one molecule of omega 3 for two of omega 6), the rapeseed oil is below the ideal ratio of 1/5.

Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts are also a good source of omega 3. ANSES recommends incorporating them into our diet at the rate of about 10 g per day, ie two to three beautiful walnuts or a small handful of almonds. To enjoy their benefits, consume them naturally: neither salty, nor sweet, nor coated. The weekly consumption of two portions of fish including a fat rich in omega 3 (sardine, mackerel, etc.) is still recommended.

Source we should eat even more fruits and vegetables:

(1) Up to 10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day may prevent 7.8 millions premature deaths, Dagfinn Aune et al., International Journal of Epidemiology, 2017.

(2) Association of animal and plant protein intake with all cause and cause specific mortality, M. Song et al., JAMA Internal Medicine, 2016.

(3) Carcinogenocity of comsumption of red and processed meat, V. Bouvard et al., The Lancet Oncology, 2015.

(4) Cured meat intake is associated with worsening asthma symptoms, Z.Li et al., Thorax, 2017.

(5) Estimated global regional national diseases burdens related with sugar-sweetened beverage comsumption in 2010, G. M. Singh et al., Circulation, 2015.

(6)Added fructose is’a principal driver of type 2 diabetes, E. Leahy, Elsevier, 2015.

(7) The pleiotropic effects of omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid and the allsmarks of alzheimer’s disease, Belkouch M. et al. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 2016.

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