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J Nutr. 2006 Jul;136(7):1886-9.

A diet rich in green and yellow vegetables inhibits atherosclerosis in mice.

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Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition, General Mills Company, Minneapolis, MN 55440, USA.


Although dietary patterns characterized by a high intake of fruits and vegetables are associated with reduced risk of coronary heart disease, the mechanisms involved are uncertain. We determined the effects of a diet rich in green and yellow vegetables on the development of atherosclerosis, the underlying cause of coronary heart disease, in a mouse model of atherosclerosis, the LDL receptor -/-, apolipoprotein B transgenic mouse. The mice were randomized into 2 diet groups: 1) a vegetable-free control diet (n = 53) and 2) the same diet with 30% (w:w) replaced by an equal-parts mixture of freeze-dried peas, green beans, broccoli, corn, and carrots (n = 54). Mice were fed these diets for 16 wk. Aortic atherosclerosis, as estimated by cholesteryl ester content, was reduced 38% (P < 0.001) in mice fed the vegetable-rich diet. Plasma total cholesterol (-12%), VLDL + ILDL cholesterol (-32%), serum amyloid A (-37%), and body weight (-7%) (all P < 0.01) were also lower in these mice at the end of the treatment period. In a regression model, antiatherogenic effects of the vegetable diet remained largely unexplained by the variation in plasma lipoproteins or body weight. Although the pathway(s) involved remain uncertain, the results indicate that a diet rich in green and yellow vegetables inhibits the development of atherosclerosis and may therefore lead to a reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease.

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