Research Roundup: Eat More Veggies for Heart Health; ‘Fit but Fat’ Linked to CVD Risk.

Eat More Veggies for Heart Health

An Australian study supports high intakes of vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli and cabbage, which may help older women lower the risk of stroke and heart attack. Dietary questionnaires of 1,000 women, aged 70 and older, reported how often they ate vegetables. Responses varied from zero to three or more times per day. The carotid artery walls of women who ate the most vegetables were .05 millimeters thinner than those who ate the least. A 0.1 mm decrease in thickness was associated with a 10-18% lower risk of stroke and heart attack. Each extra half ounce of vegetables consumed in a day was linked to a 1% thinner carotid artery wall.

(Journal of the American Heart Association, April 2018)

‘Fit But Fat’ Linked to CVD Risk

Metabolically healthy women who are obese are at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease compared to women of normal weight, researchers say. Data came from over 90,000 women age 30-55 and examined associations between obesity and CVD. In the 24-year average follow-up, women who were metabolically healthy and obese were at a 39% higher risk of CVD compared to women of normal weight. Metabolically unhealthy women at normal body weight were about 2.5 times more likely to develop CVD.

(The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, May 2018)

Dark Chocolate Benefits Brain Function

Eating dark chocolate—with at least 70% cacao—positively affects the brain by improving mood, memory, and immunity, as well as reducing stress levels and inflammation, researchers say. These first two human trials studying the impact of dark chocolate, examined amounts as small as a chocolate bar over short and longer periods of time. Studies show the higher the cacao concentration, the better the effect on brain function.

(Experimental Biology 2018 annual meeting, April 2018)

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