Fruit and vegetable‐rich diets are associated with a reduced cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. This protective
effect may be a result of the phytochemicals present within fruits and vegetables (F&V). However, there can be considerable variation in the content of phytochemical composition of whole F&V depending on growing location, cultivar, season and
agricultural practices, etc. Therefore, the present study investigated the effects of consuming fruits and vegetables as puree‐based drinks (FVPD) daily on vasodilation, phytochemical bioavailability, antioxidant status and other CVD risk factors.
FVPD was chosen to provide a standardised source of F&V material that could be delivered from the same batch to all subjects during each treatment arm of the study. Methods
Thirty‐nine subjects completed the randomised, controlled, cross‐over dietary intervention. Subjects were randomised to consume 200 mL of FVPD (or fruit‐flavoured control), daily for 6 weeks with an 8‐week
washout period between treatments. Dietary intake was measured using two 5‐day diet records during each cross‐over arm of the study. Blood and urine samples were collected before and after each intervention and vasodilation assessed in 19 subjects using laser Doppler
imaging with iontophoresis. Results
FVPD significantly increased dietary vitamin C and carotenoids (P < 0.001), and concomitantly
increased plasma α‐ and β‐carotene (P < 0.001) with a near‐significant increase in endothelium‐dependent vasodilation (P = 0.060). Conclusions
Overall, the findings obtained in the present study showed that FVPD were a useful vehicle to increase fruit and vegetable intake, significantly increasing dietary and plasma phytochemical concentrations with a trend towards increased endothelium‐dependent vasodilation.
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