(RxWiki News) Individuals who eat more fruit and vegetables have a lower risk of mortality from ischemic heart disease, the most prevalent form of heart disease, according to new research.
Researchers from the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford analyzed data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) heart study and found those who ate at least eight portions of fruit and vegetables every day were 22 percent less likely to die from ischemic heart disease than did those who consumed fewer than three portions a day.
The study followed 300,000 individuals (between the ages 40 and 85) with 1,636 deaths from ischemic heart disease. The findings showed a 4 percent reduction in IHD-related death risk for every additional portion of fruit and vegetables consumed above two portions. Respondents answered questions about diet, overall health, socio-economic status and lifestyle habits, including smoking, drinking and fitness regimens. Participants were followed for more than eight years.
Researchers were quick to point out that people who eat this many servings of fruit and vegetables every day were also more likely to lead healthier lifestyles to begin with, which would of course contribute to lower risk of ischemic heart disease-related death.
Dr. Francesca Crowe of the Cancer Epidemiology Unit said researchers were "unsure whether the association between fruit and vegetable intake and (lower) risk of ischemic heart disease is due to some other component of diet or lifestyle."
Ischemic heart disease results in decreased bloodflow to the heart, which can cause chest pain and heart attack if not treated. Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans, accounting for 616,067 deaths in 2009 alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control.