Cardiovascular disease and vegetables and fruits There is strong evidence that eating a lot of fruits and vegetables can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
A meta-analysis of cohort studies with 469,551 participants found that eating more fruits and vegetables lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease-related death, with an average risk reduction of 4% for each additional serving per day.
Nearly 110,000 men and women were included in the largest and longest study to date, which was conducted as part of the Harvard-based Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Their diet and health were monitored for 14 years.
The likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease is decreased when the average daily intake of fruits and vegetables is higher. Those who consumed 8 or more servings of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis had a 30% lower risk of having a heart attack or stroke than those who consumed less than 1.5 servings.
Although all fruits and vegetables probably contributed to this benefit, the most strongly associated green leafy vegetables with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease were mustard greens, Swiss chard, lettuce, and spinach. cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower; citrus fruits like grapefruit, lemons, oranges, and limes, as well as their juices, also made significant contributions.
Researchers discovered a similar protective effect when they examined coronary heart disease and stroke separately, combined the findings from the Harvard studies with several other long-term studies conducted in the United States and Europe: Compared to people who ate fewer than three servings of fruits and vegetables each day, those who ate more than five had a roughly 20% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.
Blood pressure The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) study looked at how a diet low in saturated and total fat and high in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products affected blood pressure. The researchers found that people with high blood pressure who followed this diet had lower diastolic and systolic blood pressures—the upper number on a blood pressure reading—by almost 6 mm Hg and 11 mm Hg, respectively—more than medications can achieve.
The Optimal Macronutrient Intake Trial for Heart Health (OmniHeart) was a randomized study that found that when some of the carbohydrates were replaced with protein or healthy unsaturated fat, this diet high in fruits and vegetables led to even greater reductions in blood pressure.