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Are fewer veggies and short jogs all you need to live longer?

Running and eating well seem to go hand in hand when it comes to living longer — recent studies shed more light on healthy living.

A study out of Iowa State University finds that running once or twice a week — even for just five to 10 minutes — gives people substantial mortality benefits over 15 years. And you don’t have to be super-speedy to enjoy the benefits.

Runners had a 30 percent lower adjusted risk of dying from all causes, and a 45 percent lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Over the period of time, those that ran lived three years longer than those who didn’t attempt to jog.

Those who ran for less than 60 minutes a week (on average about eight minutes per day) had lower mortality rates. Those who ran fewer than six miles a week and ran slower than six miles per hour still saw significant benefits.

“This study may motivate healthy but sedentary individuals to begin and continue running for substantial and attainable mortality benefits,” said Duck-chul Lee, Ph.D., of Iowa State University in Ames, one of the researchers.

The report was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

If you don’t lace up your sneakers, you may be living a healthy life by eating right. Most people may think that means loading up on fruits and veggies, but a new study out of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston finds that the nutrients in produce are vital for longevity, but eating too much of them doesn’t boost your chances of living longer.

Researchers there found that our bodies may only be able to process a certain amount of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, meaning we cannot absorb other nutrients from extra helpings, said Frank Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the school.

Hu noted that he can’t prove that the fruits and vegetables drive down one’s death risk, but did see that during the study period. He said it’s possible that the nutritional digestibility may plateau after five servings a day in most people. Hu’s review indicates that the risk of death from any cause drops five percent for each additional daily serving of fruits or vegetables you eat. In fact, the risk of death from heart disease appears to go down four percent for each additional daily serving of fruits and veggies. Consuming fruits and vegetables did not seem to have an effect on an individual’s risk of death from cancer, though.

Thinking of capping your daily intake? Don’t bother.

Joy Dubost, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, said people shouldn’t worry about going over their produce limit — it’s hard enough to get most people to eat fruits and vegetables as it is.

For the average adult who eats a 2,000-calorie diet each day, she says they should eat an average of 1.6 cups of vegetables and one cup of fruit per day.

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