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Clin Med Insights Cardiol. 2015 Jul 6;8(Suppl 3):61-5. doi: 10.4137/CMC.S17071. eCollection 2015.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Atherosclerosis and Coronary Artery Disease: Antioxidant Foods.

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Institute of Environmental Science for Human Life, Ochanomizu University, Tokyo, Japan.
National Hospital Organization, Tokyo Medical Center, Tokyo, Japan.


Oxidative stress plays a role in atherosclerotic diseases such as coronary artery disease (CAD), and much attention has been paid to antioxidant foods. The relationships between the consumption of vegetables and fruits and atherosclerotic diseases have been reported in many epidemiological studies showing a reduced risk of such diseases. In addition to the antioxidant vitamins C and E, green and yellow vegetables contain abundant quantities of carotenoids and polyphenols. The consumption of carotenoids and vitamins C and E has been shown to be inversely associated with CAD. However, supplementation with beta-carotene and vitamins C and E shows no beneficial effect, but rather mortality is increased with beta-carotene and vitamin E supplements. Therefore, it is recommended to consume vegetables and fruits, but vitamin supplementation is not recommended. Many epidemiological studies also report that higher consumption of fish, rich in n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), is associated with a lower risk of CAD and stroke. Antiatherosclerotic effects of n-3 PUFAs include reduced platelet aggregation, triglyceride-lowering effect, anti-inflammatory effect, and plaque stabilization, but the anti-inflammatory effect is principally responsible for preventing atherosclerosis. It is recommended to consume fish at least twice a week in patients without CAD and to consider n-3 PUFA supplements in patients with documented CAD. Regarding soy products, soy protein consumption reduces low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Isoflavone, a polyphenol contained in soybeans, has antiatherosclerotic property because it has a structure similar to that of estrogen and bonds with estrogen receptors. High consumption of isoflavone has been reported to be associated with a reduced risk of CAD and stroke only in women, but the preventative effect of soy products in the general population has not yet been clarified. Thus, many epidemiological studies report the promising effects of antioxidant foods, but there are many unclear points remaining with regard to the contribution of the nutritional elements found in antioxidant foods to the prevention of atherosclerotic diseases.


antioxidants; fruits; seafoods; soy products; vegetables

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