AN INCREASED intake of vegetable fibre can lower the likelihood of cardiovascular disease (CVD) or coronary heart disease (CHD), new evidence from the United Kingdom suggests.
Research published by the University of Leeds in December 2013 found that for every additional seven grams of fibre consumed per day, the risk of CVD and CHD significantly falls.
"A diet rich in high-fibre vegetables, such as sweet potato, green beans and artichokes, is linked to improved cardiovascular health and overall wellbeing," said AUSVEG spokesperson Cameron Brown.
AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing Australia's 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.
"Getting an additional 7g of fibre into your diet actually isn't that difficult - around two to four servings of fruit and vegetables per day may help decrease the likelihood of developing cardiovascular problems," Mr Brown said.
The study recently reviewed two decades' worth of literature concerning dietary fibre intake and CVD risk.
The review focussed on total, insoluble, soluble, cereal, fruit and vegetable fibre intake data obtained from the United States, Europe, Japan and Australia.
Researchers concluded that a diet high in cereal or vegetable fibre was associated with a lower risk of CHD and CVD, and therefore recommended an increased intake.
The health benefits of vegetables aren't limited to just the heart - previous research has demonstrated that certain cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and leafy greens, may aid in the fight against cancer.
"Recent studies conducted in the United States have found that a compound present in certain vegetables might help protect human cells against the effects of dangerous radiation, and protect tissues during cancer therapy," Mr Brown said.
"Vegetables are low in fat, free of refined sugars and rich in vitamins, minerals and beneficial antioxidants, and I encourage all Australians to take steps to improve their health the New Year by pledging to increase their intake of fresh, Aussie-grown vegetables."