Proceedings of the Nutrition Society

Conference on ‘Dietary strategies for the management of cardiovascular risk’

Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of cardiovascular disease

A joint meeting between the Nutrition Society and the Royal Society of Medicine, the Royal Society of Medicine, London. 11–12 December 2012.

Jayne V. Woodsidea1 c1, Ian S. Younga1 and Michelle C. McKinleya1

a1 Centre for Public Health, Queen's University Belfast, Grosvenor Road, Belfast BT12 6BJ, UK


A high intake of fruit and vegetables (FV) has been shown to be associated with reduced risk of a number of chronic diseases, including CVD. This review aims to provide an overview of the evidence that increased FV intake reduces risk of CVD, focusing on studies examining total FV intake. This evidence so far available is largely based on prospective cohort studies, with meta-analyses demonstrating an association between increased FV intake and reduced risk of both CHD and stroke. Controlled intervention trials examining either clinical or cardiovascular risk factor endpoints are scarce. However, such trials have shown that an increase in FV consumption can lower blood pressure and also improve microvascular function, both of which are commensurate with a reduced risk of CVD. The effects of increased FV consumption on plasma lipid levels, risk of diabetes and body weight have yet to be firmly established. In conclusion, evidence that FV consumption reduces the risk of CVD is so far largely confined to observational epidemiology, with further intervention studies required.

Key Words:

  • CHD;
  • CVD;
  • Diabetes;
  • Diet;
  • Fruit and vegetables


  • BP:blood pressure;
  • CRP:C-reactive protein;
  • FV:fruit and vegetables;
  • HR:hazard ratio;
  • RR:relative risk


c1 Corresponding author: Professor Jayne V. Woodside, fax +0044 2890 235900, email