Eat more fruits for healthy heart

Eat more fruits for healthy heart

However, the researchers point out in the European Heart Journal that a higher fruit and vegetable intake occurs among people with other healthy eating habits and lifestyles, and that these factors could also be associated with the lower risk of dying from ischaemic heart disease.

Ischaemic heart disease (IHD) is one of the leading causes of death and is characterised by reduced blood supply to the heart. People suffering from it can develop angina, chest pains and have a heart attack, a university release said.

The team analysed data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Heart study. They showed that people who ate at least eight portions of fruit and vegetables a day had a 22 per cent lower risk of dying from IHD than those who consumed fewer than three portions a day.

A portion weighed 80 g, equal to a small banana, a medium apple, or a small carrot.
Dr Francesca Crowe of the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford, and the first author of the paper by the EPIC study collaborators, said the study involved over 300,000 people in eight different European countries, with 1,636 deaths from IHD.

“It shows a 4 per cent reduced risk of dying from IHD for each additional portion of fruit and vegetables consumed above the lowest intake of two portions.

In other words, the risk of a fatal IHD for someone eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day would be 4 per cent lower compared to someone consuming four portions a day, and so on up to eight portions or more,” she said.

The EPIC study started in 1992 and recruited participants until 2000 from a total of 10 European countries that included the UK. For the analysis of IHD deaths, data from eight countries of people aged between 40 and 85 were used.

Data from France and Norway were excluded due to the small number of IHD deaths over the course of the trial. Participants answered questions about their diet at the time of entry to the study and other questions about health, socio-economic status and life-style, such as smoking, drinking and exercise habits. They were followed-up for an average of nearly eight and a half years.

The researchers found that the average intake of fruit and vegetables was five portions a day; people in Greece, Italy and Spain ate more, and those in Sweden ate less.

Dr Crowe said: “The main message from this analysis is that, in this study, people who consume more fruits and vegetables have lower risk of dying from IHD. However, we need to be cautious in our interpretation of the results because we are unsure whether the association between fruit and vegetable intake and risk of IHD is due to some other component of diet or lifestyle.

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