Fruit and veg cut cardiovascular risk

People who consume a high amount of fruit and vegetables have a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease and this may be down to vitamin C, a new study suggests.

According to the findings, people with a high concentration of this vitamin in their blood as a result of eating fruit and vegetables, have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease and dying from it.

Danish researchers assessed data relating to the fruit and vegetable intake of around 100,000 people. Information on the participants' DNA was also analysed.

"We can see that those with the highest intake of fruit and vegetables have a 15% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease and a 20% lower risk of early death compared with those who very rarely eat fruit and vegetables.

"At the same time, we can see that the reduced risk is related to high vitamin C concentrations in the blood from the fruit and vegetables," explained Dr Camilla Kobylecki of the Department of Clinical Biochemistry in Herlev and Gentofte Hospital.

The researchers noted that vitamin C is important to the body for a number of reasons. It helps to build connective tissue, which connects different types of tissue and organs in the body and it is also a powerful antioxidant, which helps protect the body from disease damage.

"We know that fruit and vegetables are healthy, but now our research is pinpointing more precisely why this is so. Eating a lot of fruit and vegetables is a natural way of increasing vitamin C blood levels, which in the long term may contribute to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and early death," they said.

They emphaisised that the body cannot make vitamin C, it has to be consumed via the diet or supplements.

"You can get vitamin C supplements, but it is a good idea to get your vitamin C by eating a healthy diet, which will at the same time help you to develop a healthier lifestyle in the long term for the general benefit of your health," the researchers added.

Details of these findings have been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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[Posted: Wed 08/07/2015]

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