How Fruit Can Combat Your Heart Disease Risk

If you’re concerned about your heart health, you’ll be happy to hear that there is a simple way to greatly reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Eating a diet that is rich in fruit can have an enormous and beneficial effect, even if you have a history of heart disease. In fact, according to the chair of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, Walter Willett, M.D., diet can actually be more effective at reducing your risk of heart disease than even the most powerful drug currently available.

There have been several recent long-term studies with high participation rates that show that eating a diet with several daily servings of fruit in it can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as 40 percent. According to information presented to the European Society of Cardiology, more than 450,000 people in China participated in a study that lasted seven years. Researchers discovered that individuals who ate fruit daily cut their risk of heart disease by between 25 and 40 percent compared to those who did not eat fruit.

Another study, this one lasting 14 years and involving more than 100,000 participants, showed similar results. Done as part of the Harvard-based Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study, it was determined that the higher the daily intake of fruit, the lower someone’s risk for heart disease. Researchers found that compared to individuals who ate 1.5 servings of fruit or less per day, participants who consumed eight servings a day lowered their risk of a heart attack by 30 percent.

A study published in Circulation shows that even individuals with a history of heart disease can lower their risk of dying of a heart attack by increasing the amount of fruit in their diet. A five year study tracked over 30,000 people and determined that individuals with a healthy diet involving fruit were at the lowest risk of a repeat heart attack and 28 percent less likely to develop congestive heart failure.

Since fresh fruit is not always an option, you can substitute dried, frozen and even canned fruit, as long as the canned fruit is in fruit juice, not syrup.