Although nutrition fads come and go, the notion that “fruits and vegetables are good for you” has always remained . . . until now. Of late, even this nutrition truism, preached to kids at most dinner tables, has been called into question. Many people are boasting good results after adopting low-carbohydrate, ketogenic, or even carnivore diets. In these cases, fruits and vegetables are often very limited—or excluded entirely. So was your mom wrong to force those greens on you?

Apparently not. According to a meta-analysis published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, fruits and vegetables have extremely potent health benefits. The case made is strong: researchers combined a total of 64 previous research studies that correlated fruit and/or vegetable intake with non-communicable, chronic diseases. We’re talking about the major hitters responsible for the vast majority of non-accidental death: heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. The scientists used statistics to combine the results of these 64 studies to create a meta-analysis—a mega-result, so to speak.

In total, the scientists studied 98 pairs of fruit/vegetable intake and diseases. Of those, 53 pairs showed that more fruit and/or vegetable intake correlated with less disease.

Specifically, more fruit intake was associated with decreased risk of all-causes mortality, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, asthma, depression, and cancers (mouth, pharynx, larynx, NPC, renal cell, and lung).

More vegetable intake was associated with decreased risk of all-cause mortality, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, hip fracture, ulcerative colitis, Barrett’s esophagus, asthma prevalence, depression, and cancers (colorectal, liver, mouth, pharynx, larynx, nasopharyngeal, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, pancreatic, and hepatocellular carcinoma).

That’s a staggering list. Clearly, the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibers in plant foods play an important role in human health.

That said, increasing intake of fruit and vegetables isn’t easy. After all, the vast majority of people fall short of even government minimum guidelines. Fortunately, no extra credit is needed here. The study results showed increasing benefits all the way up to 300g per day of combined fruit and vegetables. That’s less than even the commonly cited goal of five servings per day.

Interestingly, the authors actually found a possible adverse effect of increasing fruit and vegetable intake past 300g per day. The reason for this finding is not likely to be the fruits and vegetables themselves. Instead, high fruit and vegetable intake could be a marker for people who exclude other important, nutrient-dense foods from their diet (i.e., in the case of veganism or vegetarianism).

So, if you follow a balanced Paleo diet, take heart. You’re probably hitting around the “ideal” of 300g (or around five servings) of fruits and vegetables per day. Swing lower on the carb scale? With care, vegetable intake can be sufficient on carbohydrate-restricted diets, but it does take a deliberate effort. Seek trained help if you need it. Finally, for some people, fruits and vegetables are simply not well-tolerated. In such cases, the best course of action is to work with a qualified healthcare professional to improve gut health and, thus, fiber tolerance.