3 evidence-based benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables

The Bottom Line

  • Following a lacto-ovo vegetarian or vegan diet can lead to weigh-loss in the short-term, compared to following a non-vegetarian diet.
  • Plant-based diets that allow some animal products, such as the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension, lacto-ovo vegetarian, healthy Nordic, and Mediterranean diets, may help lower blood pressure in adults.
  • Consuming more fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of experiencing hip fractures in adults aged 50 and over.
  • Not eating enough fruits and vegetables? Speak with your healthcare team and refer to Canada’s food guide for assistance.  

‘Tis the season… planting season that is! As the weather improves, many of us are out in the garden making edible art using soil and seeds. From peppers and broccoli to strawberries and raspberries, we all hope for a fruitful yield that paints both our yards and plates with a multitude of colours. But be it through following a plant-based diet that emphasizes the intake of plant foods above animal products or simply incorporating more fruits and vegetables into our regular diet, just what are the benefits of consuming more fruits and vegetables? There are a variety, ranging from weight management to bone health (1-3). 

Click on the links below to learn more.

1. Help with weight loss

Two vegetarian diets are the lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, which permits the consumption of dairy products and eggs but not meat, fish, or poultry, and the vegan diet, which does not permit the consumption of any animal products. Research shows that compared to a non-vegetarian diet, following a lacto-ovo vegetarian or vegan diet can help with short-term (at least 12 months) weight loss. Vegan diets also appear to be more effective than lacto-ovo vegetarian diets. Lastly, vegetarian diets combined with an effort to reduce calorie consumption are more effective than following a vegetarian diet on its own. More long-term research is needed (1).

2. Lower blood pressure 

Plant-based diets such as the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH), lacto-ovo vegetarian, healthy Nordic, and Mediterranean diets may lead to reductions in diastolic and/or systolic blood pressure in adults. Whether one or more aspect of blood pressure improves varies across diet type. In general, these specific diets encourage the intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and some animal products (2).  

3. Reduce risk of hip fractures

In older adults, hip fractures are a source of significant illness, reduced quality of life, and increased mortality (4-7). Research shows that upping the consumption of fruits and vegetables can decrease the likelihood of experiencing a hip fracture in adults aged 50 and over. More high-quality research is needed to further support these results (3).  

Speak with your healthcare team about how to best ensure that you are getting enough fruits and vegetables in your diet. Additionally, Canada’s food guide provides information on choosing and preparing healthy vegetables and fruits, snack ideas, and tips on how to eat more fruits and veggies. 

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Author Details


  1. Huang R, Huang C, Hu F, et al. Vegetarian diets and weight reduction: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Gen Intern Med. 2016; 31(1):109-116. doi: 10.1007/s11606-015-3390-7.
  2. Gibbs J, Gaskin E, Ji C, et al. The effect of plant-based dietary patterns on blood pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled intervention trials. J Hypertens. 2021; 39(1):23-37. doi: 10.1097/HJH.0000000000002604.
  3. Brondani JE, Comim FV, Flores LM, et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and bones: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLOS ONE. 2019; 14:e0217223. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0217223.
  4. Avenell A, Smith TO, Curtain JP, et al. Nutritional supplementation for hip fracture aftercare in older people. Cochrane Database Syst Revs. 2016; 11:CD001880. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001880.pub6.
  5. Cranney AB, Coyle D, Hopman WM. Prospective evaluation of preferences and quality of life in women with hip fractures. J Rheumatol. 2005; 32(12):2393-2399. 
  6. Bentler SE, Liu L, Obrizan M, et al. The aftermath of hip fracture: Discharge placement, functional status change, and mortality. Am J Epidemiol. 2009; 170(10):1290-1299. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwp266. 
  7. Mariconda M, Costa GG, Cerbasi S, et al. The determinants of mortality and morbidity during the year following fracture of the hip. Bone Joint J. 2015; 97(3):383-390. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.97B3.34504. 

DISCLAIMER: These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (info@mcmasteroptimalaging.org).

Many of our Blog Posts were written before the COVID-19 pandemic and thus do not necessarily reflect the latest public health recommendations. While the content of new and old blogs identify activities that support optimal aging, it is important to defer to the most current public health recommendations. Some of the activities suggested within these blogs may need to be modified or avoided altogether to comply with changing public health recommendations. To view the latest updates from the Public Health Agency of Canada, please visit their website.