Why are fruits and vegetables good for my heart?

It’s probably no surprise to hear that fruits and vegetables are good for your overall health -- for one thing, people who eat lots of fruits and vegetables usually eat less fat. But did you know that they are especially good for your heart? Here’s why:
  • Fruits and vegetables can be a great source of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber has been proven to reduce blood cholesterol levels.
  • Many fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin B6 and folic acid. These vitamins can lower homocysteine levels and help maintain a healthy heart and blood vessels.
  • Fruits and vegetables provide antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and lycopene. Antioxidants protect your cells from damage -- they’re like “rust-proofing” for your body. Taking antioxidant supplements has not been shown to prevent heart disease. But studies have shown that foods with antioxidants do help protect your heart from disease.
  • Fruits and vegetables are an important source of minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium. A mineral-rich diet can help lower blood pressure and keep electrolytes in proper balance.
  • Many fruits and vegetables contain flavonoids, a kind of plant nutrient (phytonutrient) that may improve heart health. The best sources of flavonoids are brightly colored fruits and vegetables, such as berries, apples, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, and onions.
Mary A. McLaughlin, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Fruits and vegetables contain anti-oxidants which can reduce atherosclerotic plaques (fat deposits in the arteries). They also contain vitamins, minerals and nutrients (such as fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin A and vitamin C) which contribute to heart health. A diet which is low in salt and includes several servings of fruit and vegetables, has been show to reduce blood pressure.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.