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Tired of being told to eat your broccoli and kale? Then pick these instead…
Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that adults in China who snack on some fruit most days were less likely to experience a heart attack or stroke than those who rarely ate any.
You wouldn’t necessarily think that a daily habit as simple (and delicious) as eating a bowl of fresh fruit could be the key to fighting deadly diseases, but the science says it is…
Fruit for a healthy heart
Researchers from the University of Oxford and Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences conducted the study over seven years, examining the health and death records of 500,000 people from both urban and rural China.
What they found was that people who ate 100 grams (equal to one U.S. cup) of fruit per day were one-third less likely to die from cardiovascular disease.
Participants in the study received these health benefits by primarily eating apples and oranges. Based on the study’s findings, the recommended fruit serving size (100 grams) is roughly equivalent to eating a medium apple per day.
Researchers do mention one caveat for Americans, however. Since fruit consumption is much lower in China, the benefits of adding fruit to their diet might be more pronounced for the Chinese.
That may be true to a degree, but American consumption of fruit is still well below the recommended daily allowances. In fact, Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN, president and CEO of The Produce for Better Health Foundation has reported that “It is no exaggeration that we are in the midst of a fruit and vegetable consumption crisis in our country. Further, this underconsumption is not only pervasive among all age groups but it is also persistent.”
Plus, our Western diet has a lot more of the bad stuff — so picking some fresh fruit can help you counteract some of that damage. For starters…
Fruit is chock-full of potassium (which helps maintain healthy blood pressure), as well as several other essential nutrients. Many of these nutrients are lacking in most American diets, such as dietary fiber (which helps reduce cholesterol levels), vitamin C (which is cancer-protective and helps the body repair tissues) and folate (which helps the body create red blood cells).
Fruit is low in sodium, fat and calories and also contains antioxidants (which boost the immune system and protect the body from disease). Those in apples are reported to reduce age-related degeneration. Some apples may even help you lose weight. And, don’t forget the fact that each specific fruit has its own unique health-boosting benefits, like mango.
Many fruits also contain the heart-protective antioxidant, resveratrol. Not only can this powerful antioxidant decrease heart damage from oxidation, but it’s also known for its anti-inflammatory properties and for its ability to upregulate endothelial nitric oxide — which supports arteries.
Avoid fruit from these sources
One key takeaway from the study’s findings is that if you want to experience fruit’s heart disease and stroke-fighting benefits, you should eat raw fruit rather than processed fruit, like the study’s participants did. If you can’t pick it yourself, visit the farmer’s market or preferably the organic produce section at your grocer.
Processed fruits, like fruit cups with syrup, tend to contain added sugars — even high fructose corn syrup — that can negate the serious benefits you can get from real, whole fruit. Some fruits are high in naturally occurring sugars, but the fiber content usually balances that out. Still, moderation is key with any food.
Editor’s note: There are numerous safe and natural ways to decrease your risk of blood clots including the 25-cent vitamin, the nutrient that acts as a natural blood thinner and the powerful herb that helps clear plaque. To discover these and more, click here for Hushed Up Natural Heart Cures and Common Misconceptions of Popular Heart Treatments!