If you've struggled to meet the World Health Organization's five-a-day fruits and veggies recommendation, you may want to reassess your consumption strategy. An Imperial College London study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology has found that doubling the current suggestion to 10 servings a day could stave off 7.8 million early deaths annually if people followed the new formula, the BBC reports. The study also pinpointed specific fruits and veggies that may help prevent heart disease and stroke (including apples, citrus fruits, and the cruciferous family of broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage) and cancer (spinach, peppers, and carrots, among others). The health boost from these victuals may come from the "complex network of nutrients they hold," says study author Dagfinn Aune.
The mega-study examined 95 separate studies that covered up to 2 million people and examined tens of thousands of different types of disease cases and 94,000 deaths. Researchers found upping fruit and veggie intake to about 28 ounces a day (a 10-serving equivalent) was tied to a 24% reduced risk of heart disease, a 13% decreased risk of all cancers, and a 31% slashing of premature deaths. Sarah Toule, head of health info at the World Cancer Research Fund, says not to go bananas if you can't hit that magic 10 each day—simply start with the baseline of five servings and try to sneak in a few extra whenever you can, maybe by "swapping one of your naughty snacks for a piece of fruit," she tells the Guardian. (At the very worst, you could end up much happier.)