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An Extra Serving of Fruits and Veggies May Boost Heart Health

Researchers at Oxford University, UK recently conducted a study which gives yet another reason to eat your fruits and vegetables; they may slash the risk of heart disease. The study was published in the January 2011 issue of the European Heart Journal.

For the study the researchers analyzed data on over 300,000 people from eight different European countries. Over an average 8.2 years of follow-up, 1,636 deaths occurred due to ischemic heart disease.

Ischemic heart disease, which is characterized by reduced blood supply to the heart, is the leading cause of death in Europe, the US and many other industrialized countries.

When the researchers looked into the dietary habits of the participants, they found an impressive 22% reduction in the risk of ischemic heart disease among participants who consumed 8 or more servings of vegetables daily compared to those who ate less than 2.

It has long been known that consuming the recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day can help lower the risk of heart disease but this study shows that eating even more will have a stronger effect. Specifically, each additional serving of fruits and vegetables appeared to decrease the risk of ischemic heart disease by 4%.

Beyond fruits and vegetables, numerous foods have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease including whole grains, foods fortified with omega-3 fatty acids and most berries.

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