A new study claims that if everyone in the UK ate five portions of fruit and vegetables a day while cutting their dietary salt and unhealthy fat intake to recommended levels, up to 33,000 deaths could be prevented or delayed every year.
The research, which is published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, bases its findings on national data gathered between 2005 and 2007.
By replacing fats and salts with fruit and vegetables, drastic improvements could be seen in the figures relating coronary heart disease, strokes and cancers, the study finds.
In order to achieve a noticeable reduction in mortalities in these areas, the recommended salt intake should be set at 3.5kg a day, while the saturated fat recommendation should be set at 3 per cent of total energy, the study argues.
“While boosting fruit and vegetable consumption would have the most positive effect on health outcomes, there is scope for more to be achieved by lowering recommended levels of salt and fat consumption,” say the study’s authors.