Published in the British Journal of Nutrition, the study was conducted by researchers from Wageningen University, who have spent the past decade looking for associations between heart disease and different-coloured food groups (green, yellow/orange, red/purple and white).
Colour in vegetables indicates the presence of healthy phytochemicals and micronutrients.
The researchers tracked the dietary habits of 20,000 people for 10 years, and revealed that while no single colour group was healthier than another, fruit and veg that was deep orange-coloured had properties that helped lower the risk of heart disease.
They found that for each daily increase of 25g in the consumption of deep orange fruit and veg, the risk of coronary heart disease dropped by approximately 26 per cent.
Carrots proved to be top of the class, lowering the risk by 32 per cent for each daily increase of 25g – roughly the equivalent of half a carrot.
As well as vitamins C, K, B1, B2 and B6, carrots contain calcium, potassium, fibre and antioxidants such as alpha and beta carotene and lutein, which are good for the heart, skin, immune system and eyes.