Sunday, March 28, 2010

Fruits, vegetables and coronary heart disease : Abstract : Nature Reviews Cardiology

Fruits, vegetables and coronary heart disease : Abstract : Nature Reviews Cardiology

Fruits, vegetables and coronary heart disease

See also: Correspondence by Ghayur & Janssen

Luc Dauchet1, Philippe Amouyel1 & Jean Dallongeville1 About the authors
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Abstract

Diet plays an important part in the maintenance of optimal cardiovascular health. This Review summarizes the evidence for a relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and the occurrence of coronary heart disease. This evidence is based on observational cohort studies, nutrition prevention trials with fruit and vegetables, and investigations of the effects of fruit and vegetables on cardiovascular risk factors. Most of the evidence supporting a cardioprotective effect comes from observational epidemiological studies; these studies have reported either weak or nonsignificant associations. Controlled nutritional prevention trials are scarce and the existing data do not show any clear protective effects of fruit and vegetables on coronary heart disease. Under rigorously controlled experimental conditions, fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with a decrease in blood pressure, which is an important cardiovascular risk factor. However, the effects of fruit and vegetable consumption on plasma lipid levels, diabetes, and body weight have not yet been thoroughly explored. Finally, the hypothesis that nutrients in fruit and vegetables have a protective role in reducing the formation of atherosclerotic plaques and preventing complications of atherosclerosis has not been tested in prevention trials. Evidence that fruit and vegetable consumption reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease remains scarce thus far.

Very interesting. I'm sure vegetables have good properties, but I'm always astounded at the way people make vegetables into a magical food, and demonize meat. There's a guy out there with a blog who basically says eating veges make you "cancer proof". I prefer to look at the evidence, and the evidence that I've seen for eating veges is all observational. This presents a problem. People who eat veges are people usually who care about their health. They are more likely to exercise, take vitamins, eat less sugar, smoke less, sleep better, and be wealthier. All of those things are associated with increased health. This is called a confounding factor, and it is the reason why epidemiological or observational studies or surveys don't prove anything. You need a randomized, double blind, crossover study, but these, unfortunately, are very expensive.

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