The effect of fruit and vegetable consumption and blood pressure is unclear. A population-based cross-sectional study was conducted in 20 926 men and women aged 40 to 79 years participating in the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer-Norfolk who completed a health questionnaire and attended a clinic from 1993 to 1997. The relationship between plasma vitamin C concentrations, as an indicator of fruit and vegetable intake, and systolic BP was examined. The magnitude of their association was assessed using dichotomized values of high (≥140 mm Hg) and low (<140 mm Hg) systolic blood pressure. A total of 20 926 participants (46% men; mean [SD] 58.5 years [9.2 years]) were included after excluding participants with any missing data for variables of interest. People with high vitamin C concentrations had lower clinic blood pressure. The likelihood of having high blood pressure was 22% lower (odds ratio: 0.78 [95% CI: 0.71 to 0.86]) for those who were in the top quartiles of plasma vitamin C levels compared with the bottom quartiles after adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, cholesterol, prevalent medical conditions, smoking, physical activity, alcohol consumption, social class, education, use of vitamin C-containing supplement, and antihypertensive medication. Sex-specific analysis, as well as repeated analysis after exclusion of people who used vitamin C-containing supplements or who were taking antihypertensive medication, did not alter the results. There appears to be a strong association between vitamin C concentrations, an indicator of fruit and vegetable consumption, and a lower level of blood pressure. This may provide further evidence for health benefits of dietary patterns with higher fruit and vegetable consumption.
Phyo K Myint, Robert N Luben, Ailsa A Welch, Sheila A Bingham, Nicholas J Wareham, Kay-Tee Khaw