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Seven a day helps stave off death says study - but can Stafford shoppers afford it?

By Kerry.Ashdown  |  Posted: April 01, 2014

Colin Gibbs

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EATING at least seven portions of fruit and vegetables a day can cut death risks by almost half according to a new study – but a Stafford greengrocer has questioned whether shoppers can afford it.

The research by University College London (UCL) revealed that eating seven or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day reduces the risk of death by 42 per cent, when compared with eating less than one portion, and cuts the risks of death by cancer and heart disease by 25 per cent and 31 per cent respectively.

Stafford shoppers have already upped their buying of fruit and vegetables at Princes Street greengrocers Lowndes Fruits in the past 12 months, staff told the Newsletter, and they have also seen in increase in home delivery requests.

But manager Colin Gibbs said: “We would love people to eat more fruit and veg but can people afford to do it? I don’t think they can.

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“We do have special offers however on carrots, broccoli and Savoy cabbage at the moment.”

The UCL study is the first to link the consumption of fruit and vegetables with all-cause cancer and heart disease deaths and used the Health Survey for England, examining the eating habits of more than 65,000 people between 2001 and 2013.

It indicated that, compared to eating less than one portion of fruit and vegetables a day, the risk of death by any cause is reduced by 14 per cent by eating one to three, 29 per cent by eating three to five, 36 per cent by eating five to seven and 42 per cent by eating seven or more.

Dr Oyinlola Oyebode of UCL’s Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, lead author of the study, said: ““We all know that eating fruit and vegetables is healthy, but the size of the effect is staggering.

“The clear message here is that the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the less likely you are to die at any age. Vegetables have a larger effect than fruit, but fruit still makes a real difference.

“If you’re happy to snack on carrots or other vegetables, then that is a great choice but if you fancy something sweeter, a banana or any fruit will also do you good.”

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