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09/03/2014 09:57 EDT | Updated 09/03/2014 10:59 EDT

An Apple A Day Reduces Risk For Heart Disease By 40%: Study

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A seven-year study involving nearly half a million subjects concludes that daily fruit consumption cuts the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) by 40 per cent.

Dr. Huaidong Du from Oxford, U.K. presented the study at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress in Barcelona on Monday.

Participants hailed from the the China Kadoorie Biobank, which covers 10 areas of China. Their sample totaled 451,681 participants with no history of CVD and who were not taking medication for hypertension.

Subjects' fruit consumption habits were recorded and categorized as the following: never, monthly, 1-3 days per week, 4-6 days per week or daily.

About 18 per cent of participants consumed fruit daily and 6.3 per cent never consumed fruit, with the average daily amount being 1.5 portions, about 150g.

Overall risk of CVD was reduced by 25 to 40 per cent for those who ate fruit daily. Eating fruit also lowers blood pressure, according to the study. Daily fruit consumption was associated with a 3.4 mmHg lower systolic blood pressure and a 4.1 mmHg lower diastolic blood pressure by comparison to fruit abstainers.

A separate analysis looked at overall mortality relative to fruit consumption in 61,000 patients from the China Kadoorie Biobank who had been excluded from the previous study due to having CVD or hypertension.

Among this group, daily fruit consumption reduced overall risk of death by 32 percent by comparison to non-fruit eaters.

The 2014 ESC Congress is the world's largest international congress in cardiovascular medicine and is being held from August 30 to September 3 in Barcelona.

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