Having studied the diets of 3,696,778 adults with an average age of 64, American researchers recommend eating at least 3 servings of fruit and vegetables per day to reduce the risk of peripheral artery disease (PAD) which narrows the arteries of the legs.
People who eat three or more portions of fruit and vegetables per day have an 18% lower risk of developing PAD than those who report eating less, according to a study published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, an American Heart Association journal.
PAD is a condition in which a build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries restricts blood supply to leg muscles, making it more difficult or painful to walk or stand.
In this study, researchers at New York University School of Medicine in New York City analyzed data from 3.7 million people, 6.3% of whom had PAD, and 29.2% of whom reported eating three or more portions of fruit and vegetables every day.
The study's participants completed ankle brachial index texts which compare blood pressure differences between readings at the ankle and the forearm.
The study showed that eating low amounts of fruit and vegetables was particularly associated with PAD among smokers and former smokers.
In addition, the impact of fruit and vegetable intake (3 or more per day) on PAD risk persisted after accounting for age, gender, race, smoking status and other cardiovascular risk factors.
Smoking and diabetes are the most important risk factors for PAD, but high blood pressure and a high level of cholesterol are also warning signs.
The study concluded that eating more fruit and vegetables is a good way of protecting not only your heart, but also your arteries.
More details about the study at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/ATVBAHA.116.308474