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Eating this ratio of fruit and veggies could help you live longer, study suggests

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Eating this ratio of fruit and veggies could help you live longer, study suggests

How many servings of fruits and veggies should you be getting each day to live a longer life? A new study published in Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association, aims to provide an answer. 

In an analysis of data representing some 2 million people around the world, researchers identified five daily servings of fruits and veggies — two servings of fruit and three of vegetables, to be exact — as the ideal ratio to live a longer life. Diets that are rich in fruits and vegetables “help reduce [the] risk for numerous chronic health conditions that are leading causes of death, including cardiovascular disease and cancer,” per a news release on the findings.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, two robust studies that included more than 100,000 adults who were monitored for up to three decades. 

The researchers noted that both datasets “included detailed dietary information repeatedly collected every two to four years.”

For the meta-analysis, the researchers pooled data on fruit and veggie intake and death from 26 studies that included nearly 2 million participants across 29 countries, finding that consuming five servings of fruits and vegetables each day was associated with the lowest risk of death. Eating more than five servings “was not associated with additional benefits,” they found. 

Additionally, the researchers through the meta-analysis also determined that two servings of fruit and three of vegetables were “associated with the great longevity,” noting that those who ate five servings a day had a 13 percent lower risk of death overall, including a 12 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke. They also were found to have a 10 percent lower risk of death from cancer, as well as a 35 percent lower risk of death from respiratory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

It’s important to note that not all fruits and vegetables are created equal, with the researchers also finding that the greatest benefits were seen in those who ate green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, lettuce and kale. Benefits were also greater for those who ate vegetables “rich in beta carotene and vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, berries and carrots,” the researchers said. 

Meanwhile, “starchy vegetables, such as peas and corn, fruit juices and potatoes were not associated with reduced risk of death from all causes or specific chronic diseases,” they said. 

“Our analysis in the two cohorts of US men and women yielded results similar to those from 26 cohorts around the world, which supports the biological plausibility of our findings and suggests these findings can be applied to broader populations,” said lead study author Dong D. Wang, M.D., Sc.D., an epidemiologist, nutritionist and a member of the medical faculty at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, in a statement. 

“This amount likely offers the most benefit in terms of prevention of major chronic disease and is a relatively achievable intake for the general public,” he said of the five servings. “We also found that not all fruits and vegetables offer the same degree of benefit, even though current dietary recommendations generally treat all types of fruits and vegetables, including starchy vegetables, fruit juices and potatoes, the same.”

“This research provides strong evidence for the lifelong benefits of eating fruits and vegetables and suggests a goal amount to consume daily for ideal health. Fruits and vegetables are naturally packaged sources of nutrients that can be included in most meals and snacks and they are essential for keeping our hearts and bodies healthy,” added Anne Thorndike, M.D., M.P.H., chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, in a statement. 

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Author reveals how his brother killed his mother in new memoir

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Author reveals how his brother killed his mother in new memoir

Most memoirs are a recounting of the author’s own life and experiences. “Everything is Fine” by Vince Granata (Atria Books), out April 27, is a memoir of an entire family — and a tragedy that forever changed its members. 

Granata was an only child for the first 4 ½ years of his life. On the day his mother and father returned home from the hospital, he remembers writing “welcome home mommy” in sidewalk chalk outside their Connecticut home. His parents had arrived home with not one but three siblings in tow — triplets Christopher, Timothy and Elizabeth. It was a joyful event. But the birth of his siblings put in motion a tragedy that would take years to unfold. 

On July 24, 2014, his brother Tim, 24, attacked and killed their mother in the family home. Claudia Dinan Granata was 58. Tim suffered from schizophrenia. “I won’t take the medication, the medication destroys me, takes my mind, takes me away from God,” he ranted to his mother on the morning of the attack. He had frequently threatened suicide. 

“Tim’s demons, electric in his ill mind, convinced him that the woman who had made him peanut butter sandwiches when he was a grass-stained child was the source of his constant pain,” Granata writes. “…After he killed her, he dialed 911, sitting on our front steps, clutching a white Bible.” 

This is a memoir about a horrifying crime, but it is also a book about mental illness, and the family’s ongoing attempts to get help for Tim in a system that is hopelessly flawed. Tim was hospitalized at the Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital in February 2014. In the weeks leading up to the murder, there were numerous signs that he needed to return, but he refused to go back. 

“Eventually, I had no choice but to look at loss and pain, at all the pieces of my family’s story that I didn’t think I could ever understand,” Vince writes. “It was this process, recognizing the pieces, struggling to put them in order, that almost destroyed me. It’s also what allowed me to live again.” 

Tim was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

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These colleges require students to get vaccinated if they want to live on campus

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These colleges require students to get vaccinated if they want to live on campus

As academic institutions look toward the post-COVID-19 future of education, some are implementing strict vaccine requirements ahead of the upcoming semester as others incentivize or urge students to pick up the inoculations.

Many colleges already require students to provide proof of certain vaccines, but those have been in use for years. The three FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines are all less than a year old.

But now that vaccines are open in many places to people age 16 and up, colleges are beginning to look into how that can benefit their reopening plans.

Colleges that will require proof of vaccination for students who want to live on campus include Oakland University in Michigan, Cornell University in upstate New York, Rutgers University in New Jersey, and Brown University in Rhode Island.

“Students have an option to come to Oakland University and not stay in residence halls,” Oakland President Dr. Ora Pescovitz told Fox 2 Detroit this week. “Only 20% of our students live on campus. The other 80% are commuter students.”

The school is offering religious and medical exemptions to students who provide proof to the dean of students.

But she said more than 1,000 people signed up for vaccines within the first six hours after the school announced the new requirement.

Northeastern University in Boston is going a step further and requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for all students before the fall 2021 semester as part of its plan to return to full-time, in-person learning.

Nova Southeastern University announced last week it would require vaccinations by Aug. 1 – then backtracked after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a statewide ban on “vaccine passports,” citing concerns about individual liberty and patient privacy.

“We will continue to follow all state and federal laws as they evolve,” Nova President George L. Hanbury II said in a statement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Mars Perseverance rover takes selfie with Ingenuity helicopter ahead of historic flight

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NASA's Perseverance Mars rover took a selfie with the Ingenuity helicopter on April 6, 2021, using the WATSON (Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and eNgineering) camera located at the end of the rover's long robotic arm. Perseverance's selfie with Ingenuity is constructed of 62 individual images, taken in sequence while the rover was looking at the helicopter, then again while looking at the WATSON camera, stitched together once they are sent back to Earth.

To the delight of social media users, NASA’s Perseverance rover used a camera on the end of its robotic arm to snap a selfie with the Mars Ingenuity helicopter this week ahead of its historic flight mission.

Shown about 13 feet apart in the pictures taken on April 6, 2021, or the 48th Martian day of the mission, the rover used its WATSON (Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and Engineering) camera on the SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals) instrument.

In a release, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) said Wednesday that the selfie had been constructed using 62 individual images — taken in sequence — that were stitched together.

It noted that the Curiosity Mars rover, which landed on the red planet in 2011, takes similar “selfies.”

Ingenuity, which has been released on the Martian surface, is scheduled to attempt the first-ever powered and controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet no sooner than April 11.

NASA's Ingenuity Helicopter with its blades unlocked acquired by NASA's Perseverance Mars rover using its Left Mastcam-Z camera, on Sol 47, 08 April 2021. Mastcam-Z is a pair of cameras located high on the rover's mastcam-Z.
NASA’s Ingenuity Helicopter with its blades unlocked acquired by NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover using its Left Mastcam-Z camera, on Sol 47, 08 April 2021. Mastcam-Z is a pair of cameras located high on the rover’s mastcam-Z.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/HANDOUT/EPA-EFE

Once the team at JPL is ready, Perseverance will relay the helicopter’s final flight instruction from mission controllers, according to NASA.

If all final checks and atmospheric conditions look good, the helicopter will lift off climbing at a rate of 3 feet per second and hover at 10 feet above the surface for up to 30 seconds.

After data and potentially images from the rover’s Navigation Cameras and Mastcam-Z are downloaded, the Ingenuity team will determine whether the flight was a success. 

The results will be discussed by the team at a media conference that same day.

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