Why It Matters:
  • Eating 10 servings of fruit and vegetables a day could dramatically decrease the chances of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and premature death, according to a 2017 report.
  • Fruits and vegetables can give you an immune boost to keep you healthy and active.
  • One serving is generally equal to one cup of fruits and vegetables.

Remember childhood, when your parents tried their hardest to convince you to eat your fruits and vegetables?

“Because I said so.”

They would have been more convincing with this study in hand.

Researchers have now quantified that by eating 10 daily servings of fruits and vegetables, we may be able to significantly lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, and premature death.

Plus, these flavorful freshies boost immunity – a protection everyone could use to fend off colds, avoid sick days, and serve clients better.

Let’s take a look.

Scientists at Imperial College London analyzed data from almost 100 studies that quantified vegetable and fruit consumption, as well as disease in thousands of patients over multiple decades.

“Fruit and vegetables have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and to boost the health of our blood vessels and immune system,” said Dr. Dagfinn Aune, author of the study.

No one is arguing that healthy foods are cheaper than packaged, processed food that can frankly be terrible for you. But consider the “investment.”

According to an article from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, eating healthy costs about $1.50 more per person a day. That’s an additional $2,190 a year for a family of four.

Researchers say the added cost is “trivial” compared to the massive health benefits of eating a nutritious diet.

Compare it to the cost of being sick

About 1 in 3 deaths in the U.S. are attributed to cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association. It’s the No. 1 killer in the world.

Between lost productivity and direct medical costs, the CDC Foundation estimates the cost of cardiovascular diseases to rise to more than $818 billion for the nation.

And then there’s the personal cost. Got an extra $20,000 you didn’t need?

You’ll need it (plus a lot more) if you get cancer. The drugs to treat this No. 2 killer cost more than $120,000 a year. This doesn’t include treatment or a hospital stay – just the drugs. Insurance only covers about $100,000 of that, according to doctors at the Mayo Clinic. And, they say, coverage trends aren’t changing in the patient’s favor. 

Get started today: Try these fruits and vegetables

Want to ask your clients to tackle a 10-a-day fruit and veggie challenge with you? I tried it and found that when it comes to eating right, there’s no such thing as failure.

Researchers say you can eat these to cut the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cardiovascular disease…

  • Apples and pears.
  • Citrus fruits.
  • Salads and green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, lettuce, and chicory.
  • Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower.

… And eat these to cut the risk of cancer:

  • Green vegetables, such as spinach or green beans.
  • Yellow vegetables, such as peppers and carrots.
  • Cruciferous vegetables.

The study’s researchers said that eating more fruits and vegetables leaves less room for less healthy foods, such as those high in saturated fat and cholesterol.

“It is clear from this work that a high intake of fruit and vegetables hold tremendous health benefits, and we should try to increase their intake in our diet,” Aune said.

What to do:
  • Challenge yourself and see if you can increase your produce consumption. Encourage your clients to join you.
  • Don’t be intimidated. Serving sizes are smaller than you think. Use these fruit and vegetable charts for reference. A large salad can knock out quite a few servings.
  • Share recipes that help you pack in the produce. Ask your clients about their favorites. You never know what you can learn together.