Daily intake of fresh fruits on a regular base may have a lower risk of heart attack and stroke compared to those who rarely consume fruits. This was concluded in a new Chinese study.
The result comes from a seven-year study of a half million adults in China. The consumption of fresh fruit in China is much lower compared to other countries, like US or UK. This is the reason why the study is done in China, so scientists were able to tease apart the impact more easily than in western countries.
In the study were included 500,000 adults from 10 urban and rural localities across China. These people doesn’t have a history of cardiovascular diseases or anti-hypertensive treatments when they first joined the study.
Fruit is a rich source of potassium, dietary fibre, antioxidants and various other potentially active compounds, and contains little sodium or fat and relatively few calories.
It was found that even eating just one piece of fruit each day lowered the risk of a heart attack or stroke by one third over the seven year study period, compared with people who never or rarely ate fruit.
Zhengming Chen, Professor of Epidemiology at the Nuffield Department of Population Health, Oxford University, said: “The potential impact is huge. In China if the current rate of consumption was to increase to a piece of fruit everyday around half a million deaths could be avoided each year, and maybe thousands in Britain.
This was the largest study ever carried out and it is very robust, but the challenge is that it is an observational study so there may be something that people who eat fruit do which protects them, although we have tried to control for that.
There are a lot of potential mechanisms for why fruit may improve cardiovascular health. It is known that fresh fruit lower blood pressure so that is something that is really good. Lots of fibre is good for certain diseases, and it contains anti-oxidants.
It may be that fresh fruit changes the gut bacteria in a way that does not work with processed fruit. The take home message is that fresh fruit is very good for you and it should be encouraged to potentially reduce mortality.”