Eat your Fresh Fruit! – for better cardiovascular health: Latest New England Journal April 11, 2016

A recent study released in the April 10 edition of The New England Journal of Medicine demonstrated that fresh fruit consumption was associated with decreased blood pressure and decreased blood glucose.

Fresh Fruit Consumption and Major Cardiovascular disease in China

Increased fresh fruit consumption was associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, decreased cardiovascular death, decreased coronary events, decreased hemorrhagic stroke, and decreased ischemic strokes.

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The NEJM study released in this issue death with Chinese populations, some 450,000 Chinese in fact, with no prior stroke or hypertension to avoid confounding factors. IN Western populations, an inverse association had been seen in patients eating 80 gm of fruit a day, leading to a 5% decrease in cardiovascular death.

A low level of fruit intake is associated with a major increased cardiovascular risk rate. The study above chose China, since vegetable intake is high but fresh-fruit intake is much lower.  Cardiovascular disease causes 17 million deaths a year and is especially high in lower income countries. The effect of adding fruit to the diet of people with low consumption rate can detect larger effects.

Findings:

The association between the level of fruit consumption and cardiovascular risk in our study (a 40% lower risk of cardiovascular death and a 34% lower risk of major coronary events among participants who consumed fresh fruit daily as compared with those who never or rarely consumed fresh fruit) was much stronger than the associations observed in previous studies. < Current NEJM study April 2016.    This study involved some 512,000 people who had low intake of fruit already, making it easy to detect positive benefits. None of the patients had hypertension or Diabetes, and thus were not on any confounding medications. The study also took into account regression dilution bias (changes in baseline characteristics of a population during a study) that may impact findings. 

Fruit is high in fiber, potassium, folate, phytochemicals, and antioxidants all of which may mediate the positive impact of fruit intake.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, our evaluation of the relationship between fresh fruit consumption and cardiovascular disease in China showed that the level of fruit consumption was inversely associated with blood pressure and blood glucose levels.

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