In an attempt to identify the optimal intake of fruits and vegetables associated with maintaining long-term health, researchers collected information on the typical dietary intake of over 100,000 healthy men and women in the U.S. over a 30 year period. That data was analyzed along with data from 24 other studies.
In general, the more fruits and veggies participants reported eating, the less likely they were to die during the study period, particularly from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory disease. Intake of five servings per day of fruits and vegetables (two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables) was associated with the lowest mortality. Eating more than five servings was not associated with additional benefits. The only exceptions were starchy vegetables like peas and corn, fruit juices, and potatoes. Higher consumption of these was not associated with lower risk of death.
People who eat more fruits and vegetables often eat less of other, less healthful, foods, such as refined grain products and sweets. They may also make other healthy lifestyle choices. Aim for five servings of fruits and vegetables a day as one component of your healthy lifestyle.