A new study—the first of its kind—explains how even moderate intake of fruit, vegetables and legumes may lower a person’s risk of heart disease and death. This is good news for those who think they can’t afford to get the recommended amount of fruits, veggies and legumes every day.

“Previous research, and many dietary guidelines in North America and Europe recommended daily intake of these foods ranging from 400 to 800 grams per day, but this is unaffordable for many people in low to middle-income countries,” said study investigator Dr Andrew Mente, PhD, from the Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada. “Our findings indicate that optimal health benefits can be achieved with a more modest level of consumption, an approach that is likely to be much more affordable.”

Researchers looked at the diets of those living in 18 countries and across seven geographic regions. They concluded people eating 3 to 4 servings per day of fruits, vegetables and legumes was just as beneficial on their health as those with higher intakes. USDA Dietary Guidelines recommend adults eat anywhere from 5 to 13 servings.

Although this was a study done across multiple countries with various types of diets, Mente believes this data could help sway nutrition policies universally.