Diet is likely to be an important determinant of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. In this article, we will review the evidence linking the consumption of fruit and vegetables and CVD risk.\ud \ud The initial evidence that fruit and vegetable consumption has a protective effect against CVD came from observational studies. However, uncertainty remains about the magnitude of the benefit of fruit and vegetable intake on the occurrence of CVD and whether the optimal intake is five portions or greater. Results from randomized controlled trials do not show conclusively that fruit and vegetable intake protects against CVD, in part because the dietary interventions have been of limited intensity to enable optimal analysis of their putative effects.\ud \ud The protective mechanisms of fruit and vegetables may not only include some of the known bioactive nutrient effects dependent on their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and electrolyte properties, but also include their functional properties, such as low glycemic load and energy density. Taken together, the totality of the evidence accumulated so far does appear to support the notion that increased intake of fruits and vegetables may reduce cardiovascular risk. It is clear that fruit and vegetables should be eaten as part of a balanced diet, as a source of vitamins, fiber, minerals, and phytochemicals.\ud \ud The evidence now suggests that a complicated set of several nutrients may interact with genetic factors to influence CVD risk. Therefore, it may be more important to focus on whole foods and dietary patterns rather than individual nutrients to successfully impact on CVD risk reduction.\ud \ud A clearer understanding of the relationship between fruit and vegetable intake and cardiovascular risk would provide health professionals with significant information in terms of public health and clinical practice.
Sussex Research Online (http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/58990/1/Dietary%20Fruits%20and%20Vegetables%20and%20Cardiovascular%20Diseases%20Risk.pdf)