Purpose: The association between vegetable and fruit consumption and risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been investigated by several studies, whereas fewer studies have examined consumption of vegetables and fruits in relation to all-cause mortality. Studies on berries, a rich source of antioxidants, are rare. The purpose of the current study was to examine the association between intake of vegetables, fruits and berries (together and separately) and the risk of all-cause mortality and cause-specific mortality due to cancer and CVD and subtypes of these, in a cohort with very long follow-up.
Methods: We used data from a population-based prospective Norwegian cohort study of 10,000 men followed from 1968 through 2008. Information on vegetable, fruit and berry consumption was available from a food frequency questionnaire. Association between these and all-cause mortality, cause-specific mortality due to cancers and CVDs were investigated using Cox proportional hazard regression models.
Results: Men who in total consumed vegetables, fruit and berries more than 27 times per month had an 8-10% reduced risk of all-cause mortality compared with men with a lower consumption. They also had a 20% reduced risk of stroke mortality. Consumption of fruit was inversely related to overall cancer mortality, with hazard rate ratios of 0.94, 0.84 and 0.79 in the second, third and firth quartile, respectively, compared with the first quartile.
Conclusion: Increased consumption of vegetables, fruits and berries was associated with a delayed risk of all-cause mortality and of mortality due to cancer and stroke.