New research study involving 500,000 China based participants on the consumption of fresh fruits daily resulting in lower cardiovascular disease rates were published in ‘The New England Journal of Nutrition’ on Thursday. Researchers from the University of Oxford and Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences discovered that people who ate fruit every day had lower systolic blood pressure by 4.0 mm Hg and reduced blood glucose levels by 0.5 mmol per liter.

Reduce Heart Diseases

Study analysts indicated that participants including men and women, who ate 100 grams of fruit per day, were a third less likely to die of cardiovascular-related conditions.

According to official records of World Health Organization, 1 in 5 adults in China, which is about 230 million people, has cardiovascular disease of grade 1. In 2010, 154.8 per 100,000 deaths per year were estimated to be associated with cardiovascular diseases in urban areas while 163.1 per 100,000 in rural locations. The numbers are expected to rise by 50% between 2010 and 2030, if proper health care is not guaranteed.

Medical records of 512,891 participants, ranging from 30 to 79 years of age, involved in the follow up study starting in 2004 revealed that those who consumed fresh fruit, such as apples and oranges, every day had reduced the risk to one-third of dying from a heart attack or stroke, compared to those who rarely or never ate fruit. The U.S. National Library of Medicine validated the strength of the Chinese study by confirming the lower risk of heart attack and stroke associated with fresh fruit consumption daily. For statistical analysis the Cox regression method was used to investigate the effect of fruit intake on the reduction of incidence rate of heart diseases.

Fruit Intake Can Reduce Heart Diseases

U.S. based cardiology professor, Dr. Gregg from the University of California, LA, shed light on the issue by saying, “Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of avoidable and premature death globally however further studies are needed to determine if eating more fruit will result in meaningful health gains.”

The study included subjects from 10 urban and rural localities of China. The survey data was collected via health and death records of hospitals between 2004 and 2009. Daily fruit intake of people in China is much lower than in major western countries like UK and US. Statistical analysis of the study showed a reduction in the disease incidence rates. A total of 18.0% of participants reported consuming fresh fruit daily, according to the study.

“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,” according to Dr. Huaidong Du of the University of Oxford, a fellow researcher.

Dr. Liming Li, vice president of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, who happens to be the study’s lead researcher stated, “Fruit consumption is important for your cardiovascular health.” However, it could not prove for sure that fruit consumption caused the lower risk of heart attack and stroke, hence, directed to just a possible association between the two variables.

Zhengming Chen, the study’s senior author and a professor at the University of Oxford while concluding said, “It’s difficult to know whether the lower risk in people who eat more fresh fruit is because of a real protective effect.” He added, “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.”

Another meta-analysis published in BMJ conferred upon the high consumption of fruits leading to decreased cardiovascular related deaths.