Almost 19 million people die from heart attacks, strokes, arterial clots, and the like worldwide every year. These manifestations of cardiovascular disease (CVD) are primarily due to atherosclerosis or stiffening of the arteries. Atherosclerosis is recognized to be a lifestyle disorder, and a healthy diet can help to prevent it.

Including fresh fruits and vegetables in the diet is one way to increase their nutritive and non-nutritive benefits. A recent study in the journal Nutrients pooled data from multiple studies and clinical trials to investigate the effects of phenolic compounds in cherries and berries on cardiovascular health. Review: Phenolic Compounds from Cherries and Berries for Chronic Disease Management and Cardiovascular Risk Reduction .

Image Credit: Oleksandra Naumenko / Shutterstock Atherosclerosis is multifactorial in origin. Its multiple risk factors include high cholesterol levels, inflammatory stress, oxidative stress, smoking, age, hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes mellitus, and genetic factors. Unhealthy behaviors like smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, or a poor-quality diet are associated with CVD.

CVD risk is also higher in people with obesity, high blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and high blood pressure. The common risk factor for both is unhealthy lifestyle choices. Globally, CVD management costs over $900 billion, as per 2015 statistics, and the burden is growing due to the increase in type 2 diabetes and hypertension at present.

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