Bumping up your daily intake of vegetables and beans by just a bit can have a big effect on your overall health, says two new studies. One study, published in The Canadian Medical Association Journal, discovered that increasing your daily intake of beans and legumes to three-quarters of a cup (4.5 ounces) lowers unhealthy LDL cholesterol by 5 percent – a significant drop that can also reduce your heart attack risk.
The second study, conducted at the University College London (UCL), found that adding just one more serving of fresh vegetables to your daily diet can decrease you risk of dying from a chronic disease by an incredible 16 percent. The researchers also found people who ate seven or more servings of vegetables and fruit daily reduced their risk of death at any time by 42 percent over those who ate less than one serving.
But neither finding means you have to stuff yourself silly with kale or kidney beans. "However many portions of fruit and vegetables you eat now, adding extra may benefit your health," says lead author of the UCL study, Dr. Oyinlola Oyebode. "I just fit in more vegetables during the day by snacking on carrots, tomatoes, and radishes raw at my desk."