London, Jan 19 (Agencies): They are considered good for your health. Now, a new study has claimed that eating a minimum of eight portions of fruit and vegetables daily can lower the risk of heart disease by almost a quarter.

The research, which has looked at 300,000 people aged from 40 to 85 in eight countries, found that the accepted wisdom of eating five portions of fruits daily for a healthy life could be inadequate.

It ups the World Health Organisation-recommended quota of eating 14 ounce, or about 397 grams, of vegetables per day, the Telegraph reported.

People who eat eight or more portions a day have a 22 per cent lower chance of dying from heart disease than someone who eats only three portions, said the report published in the European Heart Journal.

Victoria Taylor, senior dietitian at the British Heart Foundation, added: "This large observational study adds weight to the recommendation to eat more fruit and vegetables to help reduce our risk of heart disease.

"Although we have known for some time that eating five portions a day can help to lower our risk of heart disease, it has been less clear whether eating more than this will have an even better effect.

"The take home message is still that eating fruit and vegetables is healthy for your heart."

Professor Michael Marmot, director of the University College London's International Institute for Society and Health, said: "Such an odds ratio is of huge practical importance. Cardiovascular disease is the most important common cause of death. A reduction of 22 per cent is huge."

However, he added: "There would need to be a big shift in dietary patterns to achieve this healthy consumption of eight portions a day.

"It is worth trying to move in that direction. Moving to a diet that emphasises fruit and vegetables is of great importance to public health."