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.