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J Nutr. 2004 Apr;134(4):913-8.

Plasma C-reactive protein and homocysteine concentrations are related to frequent fruit and vegetable intake in Hispanic and non-Hispanic white elders.

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  • 1The Jean Mayer U S Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, MA, USA.


Elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) and plasma total homocysteine (Hcy) were recently identified as risk factors for cardiovascular disease. However, few studies have related fruit and vegetable consumption to these markers of inflammation and B vitamin deficiency, particularly in the Hispanic population. We examined the relation of fruit and vegetable intake with plasma CRP and Hcy concentrations in a cross-sectional study. Subjects were 445 Hispanic elders and 154 neighborhood-based non-Hispanic white elders living in Massachusetts. Diet was assessed with a FFQ designed for this population. There were significant inverse dose-response associations between fruit and vegetable intake and plasma CRP (P for trend = 0.010) and Hcy (P for trend = 0.033) concentrations, after adjustment for potential confounders. The prevalence of high plasma CRP (> 10 mg/L), and high Hcy (>10.4 micromol/L for women and >11.4 micromol/L for men), was significantly greater among subjects in the lowest quartile of fruit and vegetable consumption relative to those in the highest quartile, 17.9 vs. 9.1% and 58.7 vs. 44.4%, respectively. With each additional serving of fruit and vegetable intake, adjusted odd ratios for high plasma CRP and Hcy were 0.79 (95% CI: 0.65 to 0.97) and 0.83 (95% CI: 0.72 to 0.96), respectively. Greater frequency of fruit and vegetable intake was associated with significantly lower plasma CRP and Hcy concentrations. Because both of these metabolites are known risk factors for CVD, these findings contribute to the evidence that a higher intake of fruit and vegetables may reduce the risk of CVD.

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