By Sean Lee, WWJ Health Reporter

SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) – A large new study from Sweden finds eating fewer than five servings of fruit and vegetables a day is linked with a higher chance of dying early.

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People who said they never ate fruit and vegetables died an average of three years sooner than those who ate plenty of produce — lettuce, apples, carrots and tomatoes.

Eating at least one serving of fruit a day extended life by an average of 19 months.

And eating at least three servings of vegetables a day bought people another 32 months of life.

The new study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shows the five-a-day produce recommendations are optimal, meaning researchers didn’t find any improvement in survival for people who ate more than that amount.

If you struggle to eat the minimum, I’ve found the easiest way to cram it all in is a green smoothie.

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Sean Lee’s Green Smoothie Recipe

1 cup water
1 cup ice
1 cup red grapes
1 cup pineapple
spinach to taste

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender (to smoothly break down the spinach) and blend until very smooth. Makes about a quart.
Keeps up to three days in the refrigerator.

You can experiment with different greens and different fruits, but remember to start out with about an 80/20 fruit to greens mix if you’re not consuming a lot of greens right now.

You can gradually increase the greens and decrease the fruits. You can also throw in protein powder if you like.

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Enjoy!