Harvard Heart Letter

No denying the power of produce

Fruits and vegetables are sure choices for keeping you and your heart healthy — no prescription required.

If someone ever developed a pill that could improve cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, protect against heart disease and stoke, strengthen bones, and guard against diabetes, vision and memory loss, and some cancers — and do all this without any harmful side effects — people would take it in a heartbeat. Yet most of us turn our backs on fruits and vegetables, which do all that. Why we don't embrace these wonderful foods is something of a mystery, and a potentially deadly one at that.

A whopping two-thirds or more of adult Americans don't hit the target of five servings a day, according to a huge survey from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many don't even come close.

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