New studies have found that eating a couple of pieces of fruit a day can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by 40% compared to eating no fruit at all. However, the maximum benefit in the study came from eating a relatively modest amount every day; around one and a half portions or 150g in weight, which is the equivalent to eating an apple and half a banana. It is thought that the antioxidant effects in fruit and vegetables is what helps the heart to fight harmful naturally occurring chemicals in the body.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a general term that describes a disease of the heart or blood vessels. There are four main types of cardiovascular disease including; coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral arterial disease and aortic disease. These diseases are usually caused when blood flow to the heart, brain or body is reduced. Blood clots, also known as thrombosis, or a build-up of fatty deposits inside an artery, can lead to the artery hardening and narrowing (known as atherosclerosis) and can cause this reduction.
The findings were a result of a study of half a million Chinese people whose heart health was tracked for seven years by Oxford University researchers. The current study included 451,681 participants without cardiovascular disease and who were not taking medication for high blood pressure. The survey took place during 2004 and 2008 in 10 urban and rural regions across China where routine consumption of fruit was recorded in five categories: never, monthly, 1-3 days per week, 4-6 days per week, daily.
Over the seven year follow up period there were 19,300 cases of heart disease and 19,689 strokes, including 14,688 ischaemic, in which arteries supplying the brain become blocked, and 3,562 haemorrhagic (bleeding in the brain). The researchers found that 18% of participants consumed fruit daily and 6.3% never consumed any. Compared to people who never ate fruit, those who ate fruit daily cut their CVD risks by 25-40%.
Lead researcher Dr Huaidong Du of the university’s Clinical Trial Service Unit said: ‘Cardiovascular disease, including ischaemic heart disease (IHD) and stroke, is the leading cause of death worldwide.’ He added: ‘Our data clearly shows that eating fresh fruit can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
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Preventing Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular disease is very serious and can be life threatening. Most deaths caused by cardiovascular disease are premature and could easily be prevented by making lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, regularly exercising, and stopping smoking.
Here at the New Malden Diagnostic Centre we have a large team of cardiology specialists who can offer their expert services and diagnostics for patients with cardiovascular disease and other related issues such as chest pains and suspected disturbance of heart rhythm. Not only can we provide the very best care and treatment, but we also offer screenings and risk assessment for CVD.
To find out more information or to book an appointment with our specialist consultants visit our website, or get in touch by calling: 020 8942 6555.