May 29, 2017 0312 GMT
Three or more pieces of fruit and veg a day may lower your risk of developing peripheral artery disease (PAD), according to new research, express.co.uk reported.
PAD narrows the arteries of the legs, limiting blood flow to the muscles and making it difficult or painful to walk or stand.
Previous studies have linked lower eating of fruits and vegetables with the increased numbers of coronary heart disease and stroke.
However, there has been little research into the link between eating fruits and vegetables and PAD.
After studying data from 3.7 million people, researchers found people who reported eating three or more daily servings of fruits and vegetables had 18 percent lower odds of PAD than those reporting eating less.
When stratified by smoking status, the association of lower PAD and increased fruits and vegetables was present only among participants who were current or former smokers.
Overall, 6.3 percent of participants had PAD and 29.2 percent reported eating three or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
Dr. Jeffrey Berger, study coauthor and associate professor of medicine and surgery at New York University School of Medicine in New York, said: "Our current study provides important information to the public that something as simple as adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet could have a major impact on the prevalence of life-altering peripheral artery disease."
Participants, who were average age 64, who were 64 percent women and nearly 90 percent white, completed medical and lifestyle questionnaires and ankle brachial index tests at more than 20,000 sites across America.
An ankle brachial index test is a comparison of blood pressure differences between readings at the ankle and the forearm.
Researchers also said their study confirmed that Americans' overall fruit and vegetable intake remains dismally low.
Sean Heffron, study coauthor and instructor in medicine at New York University School of Medicine said "Our study gives further evidence for the importance of incorporating more fruits and vegetables in the diet.
"One-on-one dietary assessments and counselling for PAD patients, as well as greater public health awareness of the importance of fruit and vegetable consumption, are both needed."
The association between fruit and vegetable intake and lower PAD risk persisted after accounting for age, gender, race, smoking status and multiple other cardiovascular risk factors.
Researchers noted older white women were most likely to eat three or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily, while younger black men were the least likely to report daily intake of three or more servings of fruits and vegetables.
Low fruit and vegetable intake was particularly associated with PAD among current and former smokers.