Not only are fruits and vegetables part of a balanced diet, new research from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden reveals that fruit in particular may lower the risk of several different health problems, including abdominal aortic aneurysm. The research, led by Dr. Otto Stackelburg, was published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.
To examine the impacts of eating fruit on overall health, the researchers split 800,000 people between 46 and 84 years old into four groups based on how much fruit and vegetables they ate per day. Then they began an intense 13-year follow-up study.
During the 13 years that the scientists tracked the study participants, more than 1,086 people were impacted by abdominal aortic aneurysms and 222 of them ruptured. This type of aneurysm involves a swelling of the aorta in the heart, and can be fatal. The researchers found that men accounted for 80 percent of the aneurysms in the study.
“Compared with the group who ate the least amount of fruit (less than one daily serving), those who ate the most fruit (over two servings) had a 25 [percent] lower risk of developing an aneurysm and a 43 [percent] lower risk of one that ruptured,” Medical News Today explains.
The health benefits of fruit were even more dramatic when high fruit eaters were compared to those who consumed no fruit at all, according to the researchers. Compared with the group that did not eat any fruit at all, the high-fruit eaters had a 31 percent less risk of an aneurysm and a 39 percent less risk of a ruptured aneurysm. The types of fruit that the subjects ate included apples and pears as well as bananas, oranges and other citrus fruit.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm is sometimes referred to as a silent killer because it can be asymptomatic. While it does not occur frequently, it still has a large impact on the lives of those it affects. Ultrasounds are sometimes used to diagnose and monitor the aneurysm, but death is still a real possibility for those impacted. In fact, the researchers note that 70 percent of aneurysms are fatal before surgery and that even after surgery an aneurysm carries a 35 percent fatality rate. Eating fruit could be a simple way for individuals to minimize that risk.
The American Heart Association recommends eating at least four servings of fruits and vegetables a day. This is an easy way to ensure that individuals get enough of certain vitamins and minerals in their diets.