Background: An elevated LDL-cholesterol concentration is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The association between fruit and vegetable consumption and LDL has been inconsistent.
Objective: The objective was to determine whether a high intake of fruit and vegetables is inversely associated with LDL concentrations.
Design: We used data collected from 4466 subjects in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Family Heart Study to study the association between fruit and vegetable consumption and serum LDL. We used a food-frequency questionnaire to assess fruit and vegetable intakes and regression models to estimate adjusted mean LDL according to fruit and vegetable consumption.
Results: The mean (+/-SD) age of the men (n = 2047) was 51.5 +/- 14.0 y and that of the women (n = 2419) was 52.2 +/- 13.7 y. The average daily serving of fruit and vegetables was 3.2 +/- 1.7 for men and was 3.5 +/- 1.8 for women. Fruit and vegetable consumption was inversely related to LDL: in the categories 0-1.9, 2.0-2.9, 3.0-3.9, and > or = 4 servings/d, multivariate-adjusted mean (95% CI) LDL concentrations were 3.36 (3.28, 3.44), 3.35 (3.27, 3.43), 3.26 (3.17, 3.35), and 3.17 (3.09, 3.25) mmol/L, respectively, for men (P for trend < 0.0001) and 3.35 (3.26, 3.44), 3.22 (3.14, 3.30), 3.21 (3.13, 3.29), and 3.11 (3.04, 3.18), respectively, for women (P for trend < 0.0001). This association was observed across categories of age, education, smoking status, physical activity, and tertiles of Keys score. Exclusion of subjects with prevalent diabetes mellitus or coronary artery disease did not alter these results significantly.
Conclusion: Consumption of fruit and vegetables is inversely related to LDL in men and women.