Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption to reduce the risk of noncommunicable diseases
Fruits and vegetables are important components of a healthy diet. Reduced fruit and vegetable consumption is linked to poor health and increased risk of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). An estimated 5.2 million deaths worldwide were attributable to inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption in 2013.
Including fruits and vegetables as part of the daily diet may reduce the risk of some NCDs including cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer. More limited evidence suggests that when consumed as part of a healthy diet low in fat, sugars and salt/sodium, fruits and vegetables may also help to prevent weight gain and reduce the risk of obesity, an independent risk-factor for NCDs.
Moreover, fruits and vegetables are rich sources of vitamins and minerals, dietary fibre and a host of beneficial non-nutrient substances including plant sterols, flavonoids and other antioxidants and consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables helps to ensure an adequate intake of many of these essential nutrients.
As part of a healthy diet low in fat, sugars and sodium, WHO suggests consuming more than 400 grams of fruits and vegetables per day to improve overall health and reduce the risk of certain NCDs.
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Other guidance documents
Prevention of cardiovascular disease: Guideline for assessment and management of cardiovascular risk
Diet, nutrition and the prevention of chronic diseases: Report of the joint WHO/FAO expert consultation, WHO Technical Report Series, No. 916 (TRS 916)
Related Cochrane reviews
Increased consumption of fruit and vegetables for the primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases
- Summary of this review
Other related systematic reviews
Fruit and vegetable consumption and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies
Systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of increased vegetable and fruit consumption on body weight and energy intake
Increased fruit and vegetable intake has no discernible effect on weight loss: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Relationship of fruit and vegetable intake with adiposity: a systematic review
Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus: meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies
Fruit and vegetable intake and type 2 diabetes: EPIC-InterAct prospective study and meta-analysis
Fruits and vegetables consumption and risk of stroke: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies
Food, Nutrition, and Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective