Less Intake of Fruits & Veggies Can Lead to Heart Diseases: Study
Less intake of fruits and vegetables can lead to increased number of deaths from cardiovascular diseases.
The researchers found that about 1 in 7 cardiovascular deaths could be attributed to not eating enough fruits and 1 in 12 cardiovascular deaths could be attributed to not eating enough vegetables.
Eating less amounts of fruits resulted in nearly 1.8 million cardiovascular deaths in 2010, while eating less amounts of vegetables resulted in 1 million deaths, according to researchers. Overall, the toll of sub optimal fruit intake was almost double that of vegetables. According to the study, the impacts were most drastic in countries with the lowest average intakes of fruits and vegetables.
According to a report by The Economic Times, Dariush Mozaffarian, senior author of the study said that these findings indicated a need to expand the focus to increasing availability and consumption of protective foods like fruits, vegetables and legumes. According to him, this was a positive message with tremendous potential for improving global health.
Based on the results of the study, the researchers reached a conclusion that the optimal fruit intake should be 300 grams per day. This is equivalent to eating roughly two small apples a day.
Optimal intake of vegetables, including legumes, was defined as 400 grams per day. This is equivalent to eat about three cups of raw carrots a day.
The researchers estimated average national intakes of fruit and vegetables from diet surveys and food availability data representing 113 countries. This accounted for about 82 percent of the world's population.
Further, they combined this information with data on causes of death in each country. The researchers also found data on the cardiovascular risk associated with inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption.
According to the study, the impact of inadequate fruit and vegetable intake was greatest in countries with the lowest fruit and vegetable consumption.
Countries in South Asia, East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa had low fruit intake and high rates of associated stroke deaths. Countries in Central Asia and Oceania had low vegetable intake and high rates of associated coronary heart disease.
According to Victoria Miller, lead study author of the study, by age group, sub optimal fruit and vegetable intake had the greatest perceived proportional impact on cardiovascular disease deaths among younger adults.
By gender, sub optimal fruit and vegetable intake had the greatest proportional impact on cardiovascular disease deaths in men, likely because women tend to eat more fruits and vegetables, according to Miller.
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