Reduction of mortality from cardiovascular disease is even more significant
The health benefits of a diet of fruits and vegetables appear endless. Fruit and vegetable consumption has been linked to health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and reduced risk of heart disease but the role of fruits and vegetables for reduced mortality has been confirmed by new research.
In this new study the link between fruit and vegetable consumption and mortality was examined within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition.
According to Maria José Sánchez Pérez, director of the Andalusian School of Public Health’s (EASP), researcher at the CIBER in Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP), MDCM (Doctor of Medicine and Master of Surgery) University of Granada, and one of the authors of this study commented This study is the most significant epidemiological study that this association has examined to date.”
Researchers conducted a survival analysis that included 451,151participants from 10 European countries, recruited between 1992 and 2000 and followed until 2010. Hazard ratios, rate advancement periods, and preventable proportions to respectively compare risk of death between quartiles of consumption, to estimate the period by which the risk of death was postponed among high consumers, and to estimate proportions of deaths that could be prevented if all participants would shift their consumption 1 quartile upward.
The results showed a combined fruit and vegetable consumption of more than 569 grams per day reduces the risk of mortality by 10% and delays the risk of mortality by 1.12 years compared to a consumption of less than 249 grams per day.
The study also revealed or every 200 gram increase in daily fruit and vegetable consumption, the risk falls by 6%. The proportion of deaths that could be prevented if everyone eating too few fruit and vegetables increased their consumption by 100-200 grams per day, thus reaching the recommended 400-500 grams per day is 2.9%.
Previous studies already noted that fruit and vegetable consumption, in accordance with the recommended daily allowance, prevents the development of chronic diseases, and reduces the risk of mortality by 10-25%.
“There is now sufficient evidence of the beneficial effect of fruit and vegetable consumption in the prevention of cancer and other chronic diseases, for this reason, one of the most effective preventative measures is promoting their consumption in the population,” said Sanchez
The team also found that consumption of fruit and vegetables reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease mortality by 15%. Furthermore, more than 4% of deaths due to cardiovascular disease could be prevented by consuming more than 400 grams of fruit and vegetables a day.
Fruit consumption by itself did not significantly reduce risk however, vegetable consumption by itself was linked to a lower risk of mortality that was even lowered more by consuming raw vegetables at a high consumption rate the reduced risk was of mortality was 16%.
When it comes to cancer mortality statistically significant risk reduction was found but it will be necessary to examine this according to specific cancer, Sanchez added.
Stronger inverse associations were observed for participants with high alcohol consumption (30 to 40% reduction) or high body mass index (20% reduction) and suggested in smokers.
According to researchers this positive effect is most likely due to the high antioxidant content in fruits and vegetables which diminishes the oxidative stress caused by alcohol, tobacco and obesity.
The researchers conclude “Inverse associations were stronger for raw than for cooked vegetable consumption. These results support the evidence that fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with a lower risk of death.”
In closing Sanchez comments “As such, these population groups in particular could benefit from the positive effects of fruit and vegetables in preventing chronic diseases and their associated mortality risk.”
This new study is published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.