Studies that focus on huge numbers of the population are an important scientific tool. When you enroll hundreds of thousands of participants and track them for several years, you collect a mountain of data.
The results of large studies covering large geographic areas can be generalized to the entire population. Their findings represent the truth about the topic that was researched. The conclusions can’t be challenged.
One such study is the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Heart study. More than 300,000 people from eight European countries were followed for over 8 years. Researchers evaluated the nutritional status of this population, and controlled the results for age, smoking, activity levels, marital status, BMI, alcohol consumption, and many other variables.
Vegetables and fruit were powerful in their ability to prevent coronary heart disease. The more fruits and vegetables a person ate, the fewer the heart attacks. There was no upper limit on their effectiveness.
It was even possible to accurately predict the value of adding each serving of fruits or vegetables:
- Add one serving of fruit or vegetables a day and your risk of coronary heart disease goes down 4%.
- Add a second serving each day and your risk of coronary heart disease goes 8%.
- Those who ate eight or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day had a 24% reduction in coronary heart disease deaths compared to those who ate 3 or less servings a day.
How many servings of fruits and vegetables are you eating each day?