Monday, January 24, 2011


There has been much work now, mainly funded by institutions and governmental bodies, on the good effects of fruits and green veges. both for cancer prevention and also for heart disease prevention.
One of the latest study is by the group from Oxford U, led by Dr Francesca Crowe, and published in the Jan 19th 2011 issue of the European Heart Journal. The study is called the EPIC-Heart study. EPIC stands for European Prospective Investigations into Cancer and Nutrition. They studied 313,074 subjects who had no previous history of heat attacks or strokes, followed them for an average of 8.4 years. The subjects were asked to keep a food record, to see how much fruits and green veges they consume a day. They were then followed up and screened for heart disease and cancers. After 8.4 years ( average ) follow up, they found that those who consume 8 portions or more of green veges and fruits had a 22% reduction in the incidence of heart disease. Each portion is about 80grams, and is something like a small banana, a medium size apple or a small carrot. In England ( the last time I was there ), they sell food in the supermarket in portions. There also seem to be some correlation between the number of portions ingested and the cardiac benefits. For every portion over 8 portions a day consumed, there was a further 4% reduction. So the more you consume, the more the cardiac benefit.
What is more difficult to answer is the why? Is it due to the flavinoids ( anti-oxidants ) in the green veges and fruits? Does the freshness of the fruits or green veges matter? Is drinking mixed, squeeze fruit juices the same? We are not too certain at the moment. We will have to depend on institutions to work out the why. Is it BP reduction?
Earlier in Nov 2010, there was a report out of UK, in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, stating that green veges, red berries and blue berries, can lower blood pressure. Of course we are all familiar with the DASH diet in lowering BP.
There is a noticeable trend in my neighbourhood, of more fruits shops opening up, selling more fresh fruits and green veges. There are also more shops selling squeeze juices, and more patients are buying blenders to drink fruit juices. All these are moving the the right direction.
We are very blessed in this country to have an abundance of fresh fruits and green veges. I can only hope that we will all take advantage of it and keep our BP low so that we can all have less heart disease and strokes.
Maybe this is a good new year resolution. By the way, it may also prevent certain forms of cancers too. The data here too is good.



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