Veggies good for lowering bad cholesterol in postmenopausal women
Consuming about four or more servings of dark-green leafy vegetables, as well as corn and tubers, every day may confer benefits for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) in early postmenopausal women, a study from Hong Kong has shown.
Researchers examined the associations of total and specific fruit and vegetable consumption with LDL-C status in 508 postmenopausal Hong Kong Chinese women aged 50 to 64 years. All participants completed a food frequency questionnaire and structured interviews to assess dietary intake and obtain data on sociodemographic characteristics, medical conditions, use of medications and lifestyle factors.
LDL-C and total cholesterol levels were measured using biochemical enzymatic techniques and categorized according to the Adult Treatment Panel III classification.
On ordinal logistic regression analysis, the highest quartile of total fruit and vegetable intake was associated with a 33-percent reduced likelihood of having a worse LDL-C status compared with the lowest intake (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 0.67; 95 percent CI, 0.44 to 1.03).
Specifically, the effect of vegetables on LDL-C status was significantly greater for the highest intake quartile of total vegetables (OR, 0.63; 0.41 to 0.96), dark-green leafy vegetables (OR, 0.60; 0.41 to 0.89), and corn and tubers (OR, 0.62; 0.40 to 0.96). These associations persisted despite further adjustment for total cholesterol.
The present data suggest that consumption of dark-green leafy vegetables, as well as corn and tubers, deserves greater advocacy for their ability to improve lipid profiles and, hence, cardiovascular health in postmenopausal women, researchers said.
Vegetables are good sources of dietary fibre. Potential mechanisms by which they can lower bad cholesterol include 1) increased excretion of faecal bile acids and neutral steroids, 2) altered ratios of primary to secondary bile acids, 3) increased faecal cholesterol and fatty acid excretion, 4) and indirect effects, such as high-fibre foods replacing fat- and cholesterol-containing foods in diet. [J Am Diet Assoc 1994;94:425-43]