Jack Nicholson's 1970 film "Five Easy Pieces" gave us one way to order breakfast if you want tomatoes and whole-wheat toast with your omelet. But we certainly don’t recommend it.
Fortunately, it isn't actually that hard to get your daily dose of healthy fruits and vegetables, especially now that we know the basic formula to shoot for — five servings a day; two of fruit and three of vegetables.
Harvard researchers' recent analysis published in the journal Circulation looked at results from almost 30 studies and found that if you eat five servings of fruits and veggies a day, you'll live the longest; two servings of fruit and three of vegetables were optimal.
Eating more than that, they say, didn't extend longevity. But Dr. Mike has data showing that nine servings daily, replacing all simple carbs, provides the maximum benefits.
Either way, eating less than five servings is risky. People in the Harvard study who ate just two servings a day of fruits and vegetables were 12% more likely to die from cardiovascular disease, 10% more likely to die from cancer, and 35% more likely to die from respiratory diseases.
Not all fruits and vegetables convey benefits, however.
Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes and corn, and fruit juices didn't lower the risk of chronic diseases or death.
But green, leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, as well as citrus fruits, berries, and carrots provided health-promoting benefits.
So upgrade your nutrition, and protect your health. All it takes is five easy pieces each day.