New research from the University of Copenhagen shows that high vitamin C concentrations in the blood from eating fruit and vegetables are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and early death.
The study, published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, is based on the Copenhagen General Population Study.
As part of the study, the researchers had access to data about 100,000 Danes and their intake of fruit and vegetables as well as their DNA. People with the highest intake of fruit and vegetables had a 15% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease and a 20% lower risk of early death compared with those who very rarely eat fruit and vegetables. The reduced risk is related to high vitamin C concentrations in the blood from the fruit and vegetables, not from supplements.
Vitamin C helps build connective tissue which supports and connects different types of tissues and organs in the body. Vitamin C is also a potent antioxidant which protects cells and biological molecules from the damage which causes many diseases, including cardiovascular disease. The human body is not able to produce vitamin C, which means that we must get the vitamin from our diet.
Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables is the best way to increase vitamin C blood levels, which in the long term may contribute to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and early death.
Excellent sources of vitamin C include red and green bell peppers, citrus fruit, kiwi fruit, strawberries, cantaloupe, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and tomato sauce.
The researchers are now continuing their work to determine which other factors, combined with vitamin C, have an impact on cardiovascular disease and death.
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