A high intake of antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and premature death, an analysis of 69 large observational studies has confirmed.
The studies analyzed dietary intakes or blood levels of major antioxidants—vitamin C, carotenoids (including beta carotene and lycopene), and vitamin E. The positive associations seen in the new analysis are likely due to the synergies among the antioxidants and “myriad” other bioactive compounds found in plant foods, according to the researchers, since clinical trials on supplementation with individual antioxidants, or a few of them, have failed to find benefits.
“These results support the notion that a high intake of fruits and vegetables, especially those high in vitamin C and carotenoids, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and premature mortality,” they concluded. The paper appeared in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.
Also see 10 Key Dietary Factors and Disease.