Global F&V Newsletter

Fruit and vegetable consumption and cardiovascular diseases prevention


Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide. Cancer is continuing to develop, but better preventive measures could slow it down and save hundreds of thousands of lives each year, especially in developing and emerging countries. That is, in essence, the key messages of the two lengthy reports made public on March 4th, 2020 by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

This issue of The Global Fruit & Veg Newsletter is dedicated to the recent publications on the role that fruit and vegetables (F&V) can play in preventing cardiovascular diseases.

Toni Meier et al. studied the relationship between cardiovascular disease risk factors in 51 countries in the WHO European region from 1990 to 2016. The study showed that the number of deaths caused by cardiovascular diseases rose from 12.3 million in 1990 to more than 17.6 million in 2016. A healthy diet rich in F&V could prevent around one in five premature deaths. Compared to other behavioural risk factors, a varied and balanced diet is potentially a key mechanism to prevent premature deaths.

Xiuting Mo et al.’s study aimed to estimate the reduction in the burden of cardiovascular diseases in various scenarios of increased F&V consumption in Japan by 2060. The study suggests that moderately consuming F&V could control a significant percentage of cardiovascular diseases.

Finally, a meta-analysis by Dagfinn Aune et al. provides a summary of the data available on the intake of plant-based foods and antioxidants and the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, type- 2 diabetes and all-cause mortality. The results support recommendations aiming to increase consumption of plant-based foods, and suggest that the optimum intake to prevent chronic illnesses could be 800 g/day of F&V, 225 g/day of whole grains and 15 to 20 g/day of nuts