Wednesday, April 13, 2005

If your doctor says, "aspirin," you might respond by saying, "fruit."

In the alert “Wonder Goes Under”, I looked at a variety of studies that question the wisdom of using aspirin therapy to lower the risk of heart disease and cardiovascular events. But many people who are taking a daily aspirin to help their heart may already be getting plenty of cardio protection from the foods they eat. In a previous alert I told you about a 15-month study of almost 2,000 subjects that showed how those whose diets included the highest fruit intake had more than 70 percent reduced risk of heart attack and other cardiac problems compared with those who ate the least amount of fruit. On average, for every additional piece of fruit consumed each day, subjects showed a 10 percent reduction in coronary risk. And vegetable intake produced a similar effect. Subjects who consumed vegetables three or more times each week had approximately 70 percent lower heart attack risk than those who ate no vegetables at all. These heart protective benefits are most likely due to flavonoids, the substance that gives fruits and vegetables their color. Flavonoids have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities; two benefits that are believed to help curb chronic diseases, including heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, asthma, and type 2 diabetes.

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