Changing your health is changing your diet

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - By Emily Luxen

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Alabama is the second fattest state in the country, and heart disease is a common problem. However, a new study conducted by the University of Oxford found it is possible to reduce your risk and live longer by simply changing your diet.  

The study found that people who ate at least eight portions of fruits and vegetables everyday had a 22% lower risk of dying from heart disease as opposed to those who consumed only two or fewer portions.
Nutritionist Beth Kitchin said eight servings may sound intimidating, but it is possible.

"There are some tricky things we can do to help," said Kitchin. "For example, drink 100% fruit juice, eat fresh, cooked or dried fruit, and serving size matters.  If you eat a huge salad you've got two servings of veggies right there."

Kitchin says a serving size is equal to one small apple, half a grapefruit, one half cup of cooked carrots or a small potato. Most small bottles of 100% fruit juice are equal to two servings.

"I think what I would tell people is try and get more," said Kitchin. "Don't worry about the number eight. Start with where you are. If you can get one or two more servings a day most days, you're doing pretty well."

Numerous studies show that eating more fruits and vegetables can lower your cholesterol, blood pressure and your risk of heart disease and diabetes.

The study was published in the European Heart Journal. The study followed over 300,000 participants for more than 8 years.

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