Eating fruit every day can reduce the risk of heart and artery disease by up to 40%, a study has found.
Compared with avoiding fruit altogether, daily consumption also cut the overall risk of death by nearly a third in at-risk individuals, said researchers.
While previous studies have shown the benefits of fruit and vegetables to heart health, few have focused on fruit alone.
The new research, led by scientists at Oxford University involved almost half a million people from China taking part in a large health and lifestyle investigation.
Fruit consumption frequency was recorded at the start of the seven-year follow-up period. The number of occasions people ate fruit ranged between never, one to three days per week, four to six days per week, and daily.
Around 18% of participants consumed fruit daily while 6.3% avoided all fruit.
The findings showed that compared with consuming none, eating fruit every day cut the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) by 25%-40%.
A dose response was also seen. The more fruit that was consumed, the more the risk of CVD fell.
Lead researcher Dr Huaidong Du, from Oxford University, said: “Our data clearly shows that eating fresh fruit can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, including ischaemic heart disease (IHD) and stroke ... And not only that, the more fruit you eat the more your CVD risk goes down. She pointed out that the pattern of CVD is different in China and Western countries. In China, stroke was the main cause of cardiovascular illness whereas in the West IHD, which can lead to heart attacks, was more common.
The study was presented at the European Society of Cardiology’s annual meeting in Barcelona, Spain.
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