Although findings that a healthy diet is good for the heart aren't really a surprise anymore, new research suggests that this may be because of the increase in vitamin-C levels that come from a high intake of fruit and vegetables.
Evaluation of almost 100,000 individuals from the Copenhagen General Population Study (CGPS) and Copenhagen City Heart Study showed that those who ate the most fruit and vegetables had a 13% lower risk of CVD and a 20% lower risk of all-cause mortality compared with the subgroup that ate these foods only rarely.
Additional analysis showed that genetically high levels of plasma vitamin-C concentrations were also linked to reduced risks, although "the 95% CI overlapped 1.0, which made certain statistical inferences difficult," write the researchers, led by Dr Camilla J Kobylecki (Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark).
Still, "our data cannot exclude" that benefits from these healthy foods could, at least in part, be driven by high vitamin-C concentrations, they add.
The findings were published in the June 2015 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.