Ten Servings of Fruits, Vegetables Reduce Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

HealthDay News — Ten daily servings of fruits and vegetables may be a key to reducing the risk of myocardial infarction, stroke, cancer, and premature death, according to a review published online in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

Together, the 95 studies the Imperial College London scientists analyzed included almost 2 million people. The benefits of high fruit and vegetable consumption appear to come through lower rates of myocardial infarction, stroke, cancer, and early death. And if everyone found a way to get 10 daily servings of produce, 7.8 million premature deaths would be avoided each year worldwide, the researchers estimated.

Even just over 2 portions a day made a difference in the review, the researchers added. Eating 2.5 portions (200 grams) of produce on a daily basis was associated with reductions in coronary heart disease (by 16%); stroke (18%); cardiovascular disease (13%); cancer risk (4%); and premature death (15%). The results for 10 daily servings were even stronger: a 24% reduced risk of coronary heart disease; a 33% reduced risk of stroke; a 28% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease; a 13% reduced risk of cancer; and a 31% reduction in premature death risk.

In their review, the researchers also found signs that the following types of produce seemed to confer the greatest benefits: apples, pears, citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower), and green and yellow vegetables (such as green beans, spinach, carrots, and peppers).

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Aune D, Giovannucci E, Boffetta P, et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer, and all-cause mortality – a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies [published online February 22, 2017]. Int J Epidemiol. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyw319