Eating fresh fruit lowers heart attack and stroke risk

Eating fresh fruit lowers heart attack and stroke risk

Eating fresh fruit lowers heart attack and stroke risk, according to new research from the University of Oxford.

The findings come from a 7-year study involving half a million adults in China. Fresh fruit consumption is much lower in China than in countries like the U.S. or the U.K.

Research teams from the University of Oxford and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences conducted a study including 500,000 participants from China, tracking their health for 7 years.

The study abstract reported the following results:

Overall, 18.0% of participants reported consuming fresh fruit daily. As compared with participants who never or rarely consumed fresh fruit (the “nonconsumption” category), those who ate fresh fruit daily had lower systolic blood pressure (by 4.0 mm Hg) and blood glucose levels (by 0.5 mmol per liter [9.0 mg per deciliter]) (P<0.001 for trend for both comparisons). The adjusted hazard ratios for daily consumption versus nonconsumption were 0.60 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.54 to 0.67) for cardiovascular death, and 0.66 (95% CI, 0.58 to 0.75), 0.75 (95% CI, 0.72 to 0.79), and 0.64 (95% CI, 0.56 to 0.74), respectively, for incident major coronary events, ischemic stroke, and hemorrhagic stroke. There was a strong log-linear dose–response relationship between the incidence of each outcome and the amount of fresh fruit consumed. These associations were similar across the 10 study regions and in subgroups of participants defined by baseline characteristics.

The study found that eating fresh fruit lowers heart attack and stroke risk. A 100g serving of fruit per day was associated with a 1/3 less risk of death from cardiovascular problems.

The association between fruit consumption and cardiovascular risk seems to be stronger in China, where many still eat little fruit, than in high-income countries where daily consumption of fruit is more common,” study author Dr Huaidong Du explained.

A recent Global Burden of Disease report put low fruit consumption as one of the leading causes of premature death in China. However, this was based on little evidence from China itself,” explained co-author and Professor Liming Li from Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.

Professor Zhengming Chen, the senior author of the study concluded:

It’s difficult to know whether the lower risk in people who eat more fresh fruit is because of a real protective effect. If it is, then widespread consumption of fresh fruit in China could prevent about half a million cardiovascular deaths a year, including 200,000 before age 70, and even larger numbers of non-fatal strokes and heart attacks.”

The study showing that eating fresh fruit lowers heart attack and stroke risk was published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

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1. “Fresh Fruit Associated with Lower Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke.” University of Oxford. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.
2. “Fresh Fruit Consumption and Major Cardiovascular Disease in China.” New England Journal of Medicine. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.

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