A little bit of fresh fruit every day can give a big boost to heart health.
Researchers at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom have found that a modest daily serving of fresh fruit can decrease risk of cardiovascular death by a third.
Current dietary guidelines recommend that people who exercise less than 30 minutes a day should eat about two cups of fruit daily to lower their risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say only about 13 percent of U.S. adults are eating enough fruit.
The British study found that about three-and-a-half ounces of fresh fruit was enough to produce a noticeable effect on heart disease. The findings were published recently in The New England Journal of Medicine.
During the study, researchers analyzed fruit consumption data from more than 500,000 Chinese people between the ages of 30 and 79 from 10 urban and rural regions. Each person’s health was tracked for about seven years using medical records.
Those who ate more fruit had lower blood pressure and blood glucose levels and a lower risk for stroke and heart attack than those who ate less, researchers found. The fruits in the study were mostly apples and oranges, and the findings were consistent among men and women. Researchers said regular fruit consumption could prevent 200,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease in China alone.
The paper’s lead author notes that the study didn’t consider potential differences between the consumption of fresh fruit and the processed fruits more common in higher-income countries.
Either way, fruit is more than just a tasty food. It can help keep you on track for a healthier life.