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Eat Fruit Every Day to Keep Heart Disease Away

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Staying healthy may be as simple as eating more fruit! In fact, a comprehensive new study in the New England Journal of Medicine reveals that eating more fruit can help reduce your risk of heart disease, which remains the #1 killer of Americans.

According to leading nutrition expert, Thomas Campbell, MD, of the University of Rochester School of Medicine, the study directly addresses the notion that the sugar content in fruit keeps many adults from consuming fresh fruit. However, the health benefits of consuming a plant-based diet were revealed in this study, as the adults who ate the most fruit had a 40 percent lower risk of major heart disease as well as lower blood sugar and lower blood pressure.

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Study Finds Eating More Fruit Can Cut Cardiovascular Disease Risk

This far-ranging Chinese study that was recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at several population groups within China, whose citizens typically have low consumption of fruit but with high rates of stroke. In Western nations, a high level of fruit consumption is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. The findings in China bear the same conclusions.

Experts have concluded that adults should put the notion that fruit leads to higher sugar levels aside, since doctors and other heart disease experts recommend people eat fresh whole fruits as snacks since fruit is full of essential vitamins. However, the health benefits do not equally apply to fruit drinks, smoothies or fruit juice, since there are a lot of added sugars and syrups in these beverages. Moreover, studies have shown increased fruit intake reduces the risk of many chronic diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, gallbladder problems requiring surgery and erectile dysfunction. Adding more fruit to the diet has also been shown to boost mental health in just two weeks.

In the study, researchers followed a large Chinese population from 2004 to 2008 with more than 500,000 adults ages 30-79 years old from 10 separate areas of China — and the study’s results back up previous conclusions that the more fruit an adult ate, the more their risk of cardiovascular disease was lowered. The study shows that a higher level of fresh fruit consumption is directly associated with lower blood pressure and blood glucose levels with significantly lower risk of major cardiovascular disease.

Takeaway: Fruit is the Best Fuel for Your Heart

While the type of fruit consumed was not disclosed, the participants who ate the most of any fruit had the highest levels of education and household incomes (high socioeconomic status), and shared other healthy behaviors, including regular exercise. Together with “an apple a day,” the vitamins, minerals and fiber that are found in fruit may reduce your risk of major heart disease and keep your heart healthy.

During the follow-up, there was a tally of 5,173 deaths from cardiovascular disease; 2,551 major coronary events; 14,579 strokes; and 3,523 brain hemorrhages or hypertension treatments that were recorded for participants who did not have a history of cardiovascular disease at baseline. In total, only 18 percent of participants reported consuming fresh fruit daily; those who ate fresh fruit daily had lower blood pressure, in addition to lower blood glucose levels.

Sources:

https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/patients-families/health-matters/april-2016/could-an-apple-a-day-keep-heart-disease-away.aspx

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmoa1501451

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