Consuming a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables seems to reduce the risk of heart attack and strokes, but not cancer, according to a report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston investigated the protective effects of such diets by analyzing data from 71,910 women who participated in the Nurses' Health study and from 37,725 men who participated in the Health Professionals' Follow-up Study.
Compared with no fruit or vegetable intake, consuming five or more servings per day reduced the risk of heart attack and stroke by 28 percent. In contrast, no effect on cancer risk was seen.
Further analysis revealed that consumption of green leafy vegetables provided the greatest reduction in heart attack and stroke risk. Consuming just one serving per day decreased the risk by 11 percent.
The results provide further evidence that high intake of fruits and vegetables is associated with a modest reduction in major chronic disease risk and support the recommendation of consuming five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
Further studies are needed to assess the impact of fruits and vegetables and cancer risk. This study did not explore the effect of fruit and vegetable intake on certain types of cancer.
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