#361 Do You Really Need 10 Servings of Vegetables and Fruit Daily for Optimal Health?

Do You Really Need 10 Servings of Vegetables and Fruit Daily for Optimal Health?

The 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans advocate for consuming 3.5 to 5 servings of vegetables and fruit daily. However, for those aiming to minimize the risk of heart disease, strokes, and cancer, this may not be enough. Based on an extensive study I’ve examined, achieving the goal of avoiding these diseases requires a more substantial intake. In fact, this study suggests that optimal protection against heart disease, strokes, and cancer is attained with a daily consumption of up to 10 servings of vegetables and fruit.

The 10 Servings Daily Study

This study, led by a group of scientists from Imperial College London, looked at data from 95 studies involving over 2 million people. They discovered that sticking to the recommended servings of veggies and fruits did help somewhat in the prevention of heart disease, strokes, and cancer. But when people bumped up their intake to 10 servings a day, the protection against these diseases got much better. They defined one serving as 80 grams, and found the best disease protection when people ate 800 grams of veggies and fruits each day (10 servings).

How Much Disease Prevention Can You Get with 10 Servings Daily?

What rewards await those who increase their daily intake of vegetables and fruits to 10 servings? This study outlines significant benefits:

-A 28% reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease

-A 33% decrease in the risk of a stroke

-A 13% lower risk of cancers

-A 31% decreased chance of premature death

Which Vegetables Offered the Most Protection in this Study?

Among the standout veggies in this study are green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and lettuce, as well as cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. These powerhouse vegetables have been shown to have a profound impact on cardiovascular health and cancer protection. In addition, including green-yellow vegetables like bell peppers and carrots also offered significant protection in this study. By incorporating these nutrient-rich vegetables into your meals regularly, you’re taking proactive steps toward promoting your overall health and well-being.

Which Fruits Offered the Most Protection?

In the realm of fruits, the findings of this study highlight apples, pears, and citrus fruits as potent guardians against heart disease, strokes, and cancer. Moreover, tomatoes emerge as a noteworthy contender, offering substantial protection specifically against heart disease. Interestingly, although berries showed protection against disease in this study, they didn’t provide as much benefit as apples, pears, and citrus fruits did.

How Do Vegetables and Fruit Protect Against Disease?

Research indicates that fruits and vegetables play a crucial role in promoting overall health and well-being by reducing cholesterol levels, lowering blood pressure, and enhancing the health of our blood vessels and immune system. This is largely attributed to their rich array of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.

These essential components work together to support various bodily functions, such as regulating cholesterol and blood sugar levels, promoting digestive health, and combating harmful free radicals that can lead to cancer development. The antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables have the potential to minimize DNA damage, thereby lowering the risk of cancer. Overall, the complex network of nutrients found in these foods underscores their significance in preventing chronic diseases like heart disease, strokes, and cancer.

Why Are Cruciferous Vegetables the Best Cancer Fighting Vegetables?

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts are known for their ability to fight cancer. They contain special compounds called glucosinolates that break down into substances like sulforaphane. These substances can help stop cancer cells from growing and encourage them to self-destruct. Additionally, cruciferous veggies are packed with antioxidants and other plant chemicals that protect cells from damage and inflammation, which are key factors in preventing cancer. Eating these vegetables regularly can significantly lower your risk of developing cancer, making them an important part of a healthy diet.

How Do You Get 10 Servings in Daily?

Increasing fruit and vegetable intake to 10 servings daily may seem daunting, but there are practical strategies to incorporate more of these nutritious foods into your diet. Start by aiming to include fruits and vegetables in every meal and snack. Fill half of your plate with vegetables at lunch and dinner, and incorporate fruits into your breakfast or as a mid-morning or afternoon snack.

Experiment with different cooking methods such as roasting, grilling, steaming, or stir-frying vegetables to enhance flavor and variety. Consider adding fruits and vegetables to smoothies, salads, soups, and sandwiches for a quick and easy boost of nutrients.

Keep a variety of fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables on hand for convenience and versatility. Get creative with your meals by trying new recipes and exploring different types of fruits and vegetables to keep things interesting. Finally, involve your family or friends in meal planning and preparation to make healthy eating a fun and enjoyable experience for everyone. By incorporating these practical strategies into your daily routine, you can gradually increase your fruit and vegetable intake and reap the numerous health benefits they provide.


The information provided in this blog is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or dietary changes.

About the Photo

Yesterday, my son and I shredded the slopes under the bright sun at Park City’s 9990 chairlift. In this snapshot, you can spot the chairlift’s peak reflected in our goggles. Skiing together on a balmy spring day is our ultimate joy—nothing beats the thrill of bonding as a family while enjoying the great outdoors and staying active!

Disclaimer Policy: This website is intended to give general information and does not provide medical advice. This website does not create a doctor-patient relationship between you and Dr. John Day. If you have a medical problem, immediately contact your healthcare provider. Information on this website is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. Dr. John Day is not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your medical decisions.

  1. Are there downsides to cruciferous vegetables? In particular, what effect do the goitrogens have on thyroid function?

  2. Good to know!
    Wondering if you have any opinion about Lipoprotein A?
    I just got a test back that said mine is high. Info on the internet is very confusing. Some say there isn’t anything that will change it and others say niacin helps.
    What are your thoughts?