Stock up on those sweet peppers, papaya and strawberries.

They're some of the foods highest in vitamin C and there's new evidence that high vitamin C concentrations in the blood from eating fruit and vegetables are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and early death.

Research from the University of Copenhagen shows that the risk of cardiovascular disease and early death falls with a high intake of fruit and vegetables, and that this may be due to vitamin C.

The study by University of Copenhagen researchers was published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The study analyzed data about 100,000 Danes and their intake of fruit and vegetables as well as their DNA.

"We can see that those with the highest intake of fruit and vegetables have a 15 per cent lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease and a 20 per cent lower risk of early death compared with those who very rarely eat fruit and vegetables. At the same time, we can see that the reduced risk is related to high vitamin C concentrations in the blood from the fruit and vegetables," says study author Dr. Camilla Kobylecki.

Among other things, vitamin C helps build connective tissue which supports and connects different types of tissues and organs in the body. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant which protects against the damage to cells that causes disease including cardiovascular disease.

"You can get vitamin C supplements, but it is a good idea to get your vitamin C by eating a healthy diet, which will at the same time help you to develop a healthier lifestyle in the long term, for the general benefit of your health," suggests medical professor Boerge Nordestgaard.

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