Is Fruit Chinese Food?

iStock_000067787695_MediumWhen you think of Chinese food it's a likely bet you don't think of fresh fruit, as Rick quips on PodMed this week.  That's per a study we discuss in the New England Journal of Medicine on the impact of fresh fruit consumption among a very large cohort of Chinese people living in China on cardiovascular health. Here is the rather amazing description of the study population from the article: "Between 2004 and 2008, we recruited 512,891 adults, 30 to 79 years of age, from 10 diverse localities in China. During 3.2 million person-years of follow-up, 5173 deaths from cardiovascular disease, 2551 incident major coronary events (fatal or nonfatal), 14,579 ischemic strokes, and 3523 intracerebral hemorrhages were recorded among the 451,665 participants who did not have a history of cardiovascular disease or antihypertensive treatments at baseline." Wow. That's a lot of follow up.  The researchers discerned an inverse relationship between fresh fruit consumption and cardiovascular events, even though those folks who consumed more fruit also had higher BMIs and greater central obesity.  Paradoxical much?

It's tempting to simply ascribe the benefits of fruit as protective as so many studies have concluded with regard to fresh foods, but Rick also points out that the Chinese diet is very high in vegetables, actually much higher than most Western diets, seeming to indicate a fruit specific effect.  I speculate that just as we see a salt sensitivity with regard to hypertension in those of African descent, maybe there's something about Asian ethnicity that makes the fruit factor important.  In any case, perhaps we're going to see more fresh fruits on the menu in Chinese restaurants. Other topics this week include atrial fibrillation after cardiac surgery and statins for intermediate risk people, also in NEJM, and in JAMA, recommendations from the USPSTF on screening for COPD.  Until next week, y'all live well.

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