How does the consumption of vegetables affect vascular diseases?
Cardiovascular diseases are unfortunately widespread and often lead to life-threatening effects for those affected. To avoid such diseases, people should simply consume more vegetables. Researchers have now found that older Australian women had less wall thickness of the carotid artery due to eating lots of vegetables.
People should eat more vegetables to protect themselves from developing cardiovascular diseases. In their current study, scientists from the University of Western Australia at Crawley found that consuming vegetables leads to reduced wall thickness of the carotid artery. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Journal of the American Heart Association".
What does subclinical atherosclerosis do?
So far, there have been few studies that looked at the potential effects of different types of vegetables on signs of subclinical atherosclerosis, explains study author Dr. Lauren Blekkenhorst from the University of Western Australia. Subclinical atherosclerosis is a cause of cardiovascular diseases.
Almost 1,000 women took part in the study
For their study, the researchers distributed documents with questions about the frequency of eating certain foods. A total of 954 Australian women who were aged 70 or older participated in the study.
Women had to indicate how often they consumed vegetables
The women recorded how often they consumed vegetables. The classification went from "I never eat vegetables" to "I eat vegetables three or more times a day". The types of vegetables examined included so-called cruciferous vegetables, leeks (e.g. onions, garlic and shallots), leafy greens and legumes. The doctors also measured the wall thickness of the carotid.
Cruciferous vegetables have proven to be very beneficial
The researchers observed a difference in the carotid artery wall thickness of 0.05 mm between people with a high and a lower intake of vegetables. This value is very significant because a reduction in the wall thickness of the carotid artery by 0.1 millimeters is associated with a 10 to 18 percent lower risk of stroke and heart attack, explains Dr. Blekkenhorst. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts have proven to be the most beneficial for reducing wall thickness.
Results have been adjusted to a number of factors
After adjusting to lifestyle, cardiovascular risk factors (including drug use) and dietary factors, the results continued to show a protective relationship between cruciferous vegetable consumption and the thickness of the carotid artery, says Dr. Blekkenhorst in a press release.
Dietary guidelines should advise consumption of cruciferous vegetables
However, the doctors were unable to establish a causal connection for this protective effect in their examination. Nevertheless, the dietary guidelines should underline the importance of the increasing consumption of cruciferous vegetables for protection against vascular diseases, explains Dr. Blekkenhorst continues. (as)