Fruit and vegetable consumption and risk factors for cardiovascular disease

Metabolism. 2009 Apr;58(4):460-8. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2008.11.002.


The international guidelines issued by the World Health Organization recommend reduction in dietary saturated fat and cholesterol intakes as means to prevent hypercholesterolemia and cardiovascular disease (CVD); however, only limited data are available on the benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption on CVD risk factors in a community-based population. The aim of this study was to examine whether, and to what extent, intake of fruits and vegetables is inversely associated with CVD risk factors in adults. In this population-based cross-sectional study, a representative sample of 840 Tehranian adults (male and female) aged 18 to 74 years was randomly selected in 1998. Multivariate logistic regression adjusted for lifestyle and nutritional confounders was used in 2 models. After adjusting for confounders, dietary fruit and vegetable were found to be significantly and inversely associated with CVD risk factors. Adjusted odds ratio for high low-density lipoprotein concentrations were 1.00, 0.88, 0.81, and 0.75 (P for trend < .01) in the first model, which was adjusted for age, sex, keys score, body mass index, energy intake, smoking status, dietary cholesterol, and history of diabetes mellitus and coronary artery disease, a trend which was not appreciably altered by additional adjustment for education, physical activity, and saturated, polyunsaturated, and total fat intakes. This association was observed across categories of smoking status, physical activity, and tertiles of the Keys score. Exclusion of subjects with prevalent diabetes mellitus or coronary artery disease did not alter these results significantly. Consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with lower concentrations of total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and with the risk of CVD per se in a dose-response manner.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Fruit*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Vegetables*
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol