Eating your five-a-day can help prevent heart attack or stroke, experts have revealed.
For seven years, scientists at the University of Oxford studied half a million people from across 10 urban and rural localities in China by tracking their health through electronic hospital records and death records.
The 500,000 participants did not have a history of taking medication to lower high blood pressure (hypertension) or cardiovascular disease when they joined the study.
Study author, Dr Huaidong Du, said: ‘The association between fruit consumption and cardiovascular risk seems to be stronger in China, where many still eat little fruit, than in high-income countries where daily consumption of fruit is more common.’
The results revealed that 100g of fruit each day lowered the risk of premature death from stroke or heart attack by a third, for both men and women.
They found that fruits, such as apples and oranges, were strongly linked with other factors such as lower blood glucose, education, lower blood pressure and not smoking.
The senior author, Professor Zhengming Chen, from Oxford University, said: ‘It’s difficult to know whether the lower risk in people who eat more fresh fruit is because of a real protective effect.
If it is, then widespread consumption of fresh fruit in China could prevent about half a million cardiovascular deaths a year, including 200,000 before age 70, and even larger numbers of non-fatal strokes and heart attacks.’
Fruit and vegetables are one of the 5 food groups which contribute towards a healthy balanced diet.
However fruit and vegetables aren’t on the top of everyone’s shopping list as they are more expensive compared to processed ready meals.
According to a study by the Overseas Development Institute this has caused a huge rise in obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Obesity can cause many health problems such as high blood pressure, stroke and coronary heart disease.
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