Fruits and Veggies Reduce Heart Attack Risk by 28%

Nutritionists have long told us to eat five or more servings of fruit and vegetables each day for general good health. Now were finding that this recommendation will protect your heart.

The November issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published findings of a multi-year study of more than 100,000 people, men and women. The study showed that eating five or more servings of fruit and vegetables reduces your risk of having a heart attack by 28%.

Dr. Walter C. Willett, of the nutrition department of the Boston Harvard School of Public Health, analyzed data from two large ongoing studies that assess how lifestyles influence health. These studies are the Nurses Health Study, which started in 1976, and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, which began in 1986.

For the study, Dr. Willett analyzed the results of regular questionnaires filled out by the participants. The questionnaires focused on the participants eating habits and overall health. Dr. Willett and his colleagues found those who ate at least five servings a day of fruit and vegetables had a significantly lower risk for cardiovascular disease. They also had a slightly lower risk for chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.

Which vegetables are best for your heart? Green leafy vegetables (such as spinach) were particularly effective, reducing heart attack risk by 11% all by themselves.

Action to take: Do not wait to protect your circulation. Heart and related diseases are still the number one killers. To me, it is a no-brainer. I believe in quality of my life, not quantity. I do not want to be crippled by heart disease or stroke for the latter years of my life. So make sure you are eating plenty of fruits and vegetables every day.

Ref: Journal Nat Cancer Ins, November 3, 2004.