High intake of fruit and vegetables again linked to reduced heart disease risk

Posted by: admin on: August 15, 2011

The link between high intake of fruit and vegetables and a reduced risk of ischemic heart disease has been given more scientific weight by the latest results from the large-scale European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Heart study.

In the study published, people who ate at least eight portions of fruit and vegetables a day had a 22% lower risk of dying from heart disease than those who consumed fewer than three portions a day.

They explain that previous observational studies have suggested that a high fruit and vegetable intake reduces the risk of coronary heart disease, but the presence of considerable between-study heterogeneity has led to uncertainty in the interpretation of this association.

Is it the micronutrients?
On the possible mechanism, the authors note that there is a long-standing hypothesis that various antioxidant micronutrients present in fruits and vegetables reduce atherosclerosis caused by oxidative damage, but this has not been supported by results from large randomized controlled trials of several antioxidant micronutrients.

“Great importance to public health”
The potential protective effect of fruit and vegetables on cardiovascular disease is of great importance if advice on healthy eating is to be based on sound evidence, and the EPIC-Heartstudy is helpful, as “the numbers and logistics are truly impressive.”

Although the results have been adjusted for smoking, alcohol intake, body-mass index, physical activity, marital status, education, employment, hypertension, angina, diabetes, and total energy intake, there is always the worry about residual confounding, but the consistency of these results with those from other studies makes it more likely that the associations are causal.

Moving to a diet that emphasizes fruit and vegetables is of great importance to public health.”

Read more: http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10.1089/lps.1992.2.245

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