If you are a current or former smoker, here’s another reason to eat more vegetables and fruits: They may decrease your risk of peripheral artery disease (PAD), the build-up of plaque in artery walls in the legs, similar to the narrowing of coronary arteries that can cause angina and heart attacks.
In a study of more than 3 million people (average age 64) in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, those who ate at least three servings of produce most days of the week were about 20 percent less likely to have this painful condition than those who rarely ate produce.
This positive association was seen only in current and former smokers, who comprised most of the participants. Smoking greatly increases the risk of PAD, and the antioxidants in produce may help counteract smoking-related oxidative stress.
Also see What Is Peripheral Artery Disease?