Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of cardiovascular disease: the Women's Health Study.Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Oct; 72(4):922-8.AJ
Prospective data relating fruit and vegetable intake to cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk are sparse, particularly for women.
In a large, prospective cohort of women, we examined the hypothesis that higher fruit and vegetable intake reduces CVD risk.
In 1993 we assessed fruit and vegetable intake among 39876 female health professionals with no previous history of CVD or cancer by use of a detailed food-frequency questionnaire. We subsequently followed these women for an average of 5 y for incidence of nonfatal myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty, coronary artery bypass graft, or death due to CVD.
During 195647 person-years of follow-up, we documented 418 incident cases of CVD including 126 MIs. After adjustment for age, randomized treatment status, and smoking, we observed a significant inverse association between fruit and vegetable intake and CVD risk. For increasing quintiles of total fruit and vegetable intake (median servings/d: 2. 6, 4.1, 5.5, 7.1, and 10.2), the corresponding relative risks (RRs) were 1.0 (reference), 0.78, 0.72, 0.68, and 0.68 (95% CI comparing the 2 extreme quintiles: 0.51, 0.92; P: for trend = 0.01). An inverse, though not statistically significant, trend remained after additional adjustment for other known CVD risk factors, with RRs of 1.0, 0.75, 0.83, 0.80, and 0.85 (95% CI for extreme quintiles: 0.61, 1.17). After excluding participants with a self-reported history of diabetes, hypertension, or high cholesterol at baseline, the multivariate-adjusted RR was 0.45 when extreme quintiles were compared (95% CI: 0.22, 0.91; P: for trend = 0.09). Higher fruit and vegetable intake was also associated with a lower risk of MI, with an adjusted RR of 0.62 for extreme quintiles (95% CI: 0.37, 1.04; P: for trend = 0.07).
These data suggest that higher intake of fruit and vegetables may be protective against CVD and support current dietary guidelines to increase fruit and vegetable intake.