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High Intake of Vitamin C-Rich Fruits and Vegetables Cuts Risk of Death by 50%

Results of a recent prospective study at the Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, UK, clearly show that consumption of fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C is associated with a reduced risk of death from all causes including heart disease, stroke and cancer. Even small increases in blood levels of vitamin C, which is abundant in many of the World's Healthiest Foods, were found to significantly reduce the risk of death from all causes in healthy adults.

The study population, 19,496 men and women aged 45-79 years, completed a health and lifestyle questionnaire, were examined at a clinic visit, and were followed-up for causes of death for about 4 years. Individuals were divided into sex-specific quintiles of blood levels of vitamin C. The risk of death from all causes was cut in half for individuals who had the highest levels of vitamin C in their blood compared with those who had the lowest levels.

A mere. 20 micromol/L rise in blood levels of vitamin C, equivalent to about a 50 gram per day increase in vitamin C intake-a rise that would occur with just one additional one serving of vitamin C-rich fruit and vegetable per day-was associated with an almost 20% reduction in risk of death from all causes, regardless of age, systolic blood pressure, blood cholesterol, cigarette smoking habit, diabetes, or use of dietary supplements.

The body's premier water-soluble antioxidant, vitamin C travels through the blood, neutralizing free radicals and also recycles vitamin E, one of the body's most important fat-soluble antioxidants. Free radicals promote chronic disease and aging by damaging cellular membranes and DNA. This report adds to an already large body of evidence linking a vitamin C-rich diet with better health and longer life and suggests that even small dietary changes can have a profoundly beneficial effect on health.

Want to increase your intake of vitamin C? Just add a daily serving of one or more of the following World's Healthiest Foods: chili peppers, broccoli, bell peppers, kale, cauliflower, strawberries, lemons, mustard and turnip greens, brussels sprouts, papaya, chard, cabbage, spinach, kiwifruit, snow peas, cantaloupe, oranges, grapefruit, limes, tomatoes, zucchini, raspberries, asparagus, celery, pineapple, lettuce, watermelon, fennel, peppermint and parsley.

Khaw KT, Bingham S, Welch A, Luben R, Wareham N, Oakes S, Day N.Relation between plasma ascorbic acid and mortality in men and women in EPIC-Norfolk prospective study: a prospective population study. European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. Lancet 2001 Mar 3;357(9257):657-63