The research, which was carried out at University College London (UCL), found that seven or more helpings a day can reduce a person's overall risk of death by up to 42 per cent, while those who eat three to five portions only reduce the risk by 29 per cent. The main caveat is that these must all be different vegetables - you can't just eat seven portions of broccoli and be done for the day! This is because different vegetables and fruits carry different nutrients, and a healthy variety is the best way to make sure that your body is getting everything it needs.
White potatoes still don't count towards this goal, because while they are a vegetable the levels of starch are more notable than their other nutrient. Instead, opt for a sweet potato, or mash parsnips and swedes together!
The same study also found that, contrary to popular belief, fruit juices aren't significantly beneficial in terms of risk, while tinned vegetables actively increase the risk to health, thanks to the levels of sugar.
The results support the Australian government's standpoint of "two plus five" a day, encouraging people to enjoy two pieces of fruit and five portions of vegetables. However, it seems that five a day is already an ambitious number for the UK - Dr Alison Tedstone, director of diet and obesity at Public Health England (PHE), stated that around two thirds of adults in the UK aren't even meeting this.
Lead author of the study Dr Oyinlola Oyebode, from UCL's Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, commented: "We all know that eating fruit and vegetables is healthy, but the size of the effect is staggering. The clear message here is that the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the less likely you are to die at any age.
"Vegetables have a larger effect than fruit, but fruit still makes a real difference. If you're happy to snack on carrots or other vegetables, then that is a great choice but if you fancy something sweeter, a banana or any fruit will also do you good."
If you're not sure how to keep a little variety in your diet, you might want to try a local or nationwide vegetable box service, which will deliver a selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables that changes each week! Check out some great options here.