Background: Epidemiologic data suggest that persons with diets rich in fruit and vegetables are at a lower risk of several chronic diseases and mortality than are persons with diets poor in fruit and vegetables. Often, this effect is attributed to antioxidant micronutrients found in plant foods. Objective: We aimed to assess the relation of mortality to the consumption of fruit, vegetables, and other plant foods and to the dietary intake of vitamin C, vitamin E, and carotenoids. Design: The study was a prospective study in the Spanish cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. During 6.5 y of follow-up, 562 deaths occurred in 41 358 subjects aged 30-69 y. Proportional hazards regression analysis was used to assess the relation between dietary factors and total mortality. Results: After adjustment for age, sex, and several potential confounders, the hazard ratio for the highest versus the lowest quartile of consumption was 0.79 (95% CI: 0.62, 1.00; P for trend = 0.029) for fresh fruit, 0.72 (0.56, 0.91;P for trend = 0.006) for root vegetables, and 0.77 (0.60, 0.98; P for trend = 0.015) for fruiting vegetables (ie, vegetables that contain the "fruit" part of the plant, the seeds). The corresponding figures for antioxidant nutrients were 0.74 (0.58, 0.94; P for trend = 0.009) for vitamin C, 0.68 (0.53, 0.87; P for trend = 0.006) for provitamin A carotenoids, and 0.65 (0.51, 0.84;P for trend 0.001) for lycopene. The effect of vitamin C and provitamin A disappeared after adjustment for total antioxidant capacity in plant foods. Conclusions: A high intake of fresh fruit, root vegetables, and fruiting vegetables is associated with reduced mortality, probably as a result of their high content of vitamin C, provitamin A carotenoids, and lycopene. Antioxidant capacity could partly explain the effect of ascorbic acid and provitamin A but not the association with lycopene.