Eating a lot of vegetables is not sufficient to reduce heart disease risk, study confirms

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Tuesday, 1st March 2022

A new study has confirmed that eating a lot of vegetables is not sufficient to reduce the risk of developing heart disease. 

Researchers from the universities of Oxford, Bristol and Hong Kong found that a healthy, balanced diet can lower the risk of several potentially life-threatening illnesses, including some types of cancer, but it is not enough to prevent heart attacks and stroke. The research team found that other factors, including exercise, the types of other foods people eat and their lifestyle are likely to be more influential than their intake of vegetables. 

During the study period, researchers asked almost 400,000 people to answer questions about their diet, including their daily intake of raw and cooked vegetables. Their health was monitored for the next 12 years.

On average, the people involved in the study consumed 2 heaped tablespoons of raw vegetables and three of cooked vegetables per day. 

The team found that the risk of dying from cardiovascular conditions was approximately 15% lower in the individuals who had the highest consumption of vegetables, but researchers claim that this could be linked to other factors, including their activity levels, alcohol intake, occupation and whether they smoke. 

There have been suggestions that it is difficult to evaluate the role of the diet in studies that collect data via responses in surveys and polls.The NHS recommends daily consumption of five or more portions of fruit and vegetables. 

The findings have been published in Frontiers in Nutrition.