Journal archive > 2004 > N4, July-August

Lowering risk factors for heart diseasesby dietary approaches

Georg Alfthan

A consensus exists that a diet rich in fruit and vegetables is beneficial for health in preventing coronary heart disease and some forms of cancer. The nutrients responsible for the protective action are not known, but vitamins, antioxidants and flavonoids are among the likely candidates. Dietary supplements are generally used to increase plasma levels of these compounds. However, similar results can be achieved also by increasing the proportion of vegetables and fruit in the diet. For example, in recent studies a diet rich in fruit and vegetables increased plasma folate resulting in a significant reduction in plasma homocysteine, a probable risk factor for coronary heart disease. Large placebo-controlled studies using single antioxidants or combinations to prevent coronary heart disease have not shown antioxidant supplementation to be beneficial, but sometimes rather harmful, as exemplified by b-carotene in smoking men. On the other hand, treatment of heart diseases with whole diets has been successful.


Recieved: 2004-08-08

Published at the site: 2004-08-08

The original article in English is available for download in PDF format.