Background: Fruit and vegetable-rich diets are associated with a reduced cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. This protective effect may be a result of the phytochemicals present within fruits and vegetables (F&V). However, there can be considerable variation in the content of phytochemical composition of whole F&V depending on growing location, cultivar, season and agricultural practices, etc. Therefore, the present study investigated the effects of consuming fruits and vegetables as puree-based drinks (FVPD) daily on vasodilation, phytochemical bioavailability, antioxidant status and other CVD risk factors. FVPD was chosen to provide a standardised source of F&V material that could be delivered from the same batch to all subjects during each treatment arm of the study.
Methods: Thirty-nine subjects completed the randomised, controlled, cross-over dietary intervention. Subjects were randomised to consume 200 mL of FVPD (or fruit-flavoured control), daily for 6 weeks with an 8-week washout period between treatments. Dietary intake was measured using two 5-day diet records during each cross-over arm of the study. Blood and urine samples were collected before and after each intervention and vasodilation assessed in 19 subjects using laser Doppler imaging with iontophoresis.
Results: FVPD significantly increased dietary vitamin C and carotenoids (P < 0.001), and concomitantly increased plasma α- and β-carotene (P < 0.001) with a near-significant increase in endothelium-dependent vasodilation (P = 0.060).
Conclusions: Overall, the findings obtained in the present study showed that FVPD were a useful vehicle to increase fruit and vegetable intake, significantly increasing dietary and plasma phytochemical concentrations with a trend towards increased endothelium-dependent vasodilation.
© 2012 The Authors Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics © 2012 The British Dietetic Association Ltd.