Cardiovascular disease is often sidelined as a male-dominant disease and this leads to constant misdiagnosis, undertreatment and care in women. To prove these wrong, Australian researchers specifically took the case of heart disease in elderly women and proved few surprising facts.
Nutritionists and dietitians insist every individual to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily to maintain good health and stay away from diseases. But how many of us do this is the big question here! As children, we are forced, pampered, taught or even beaten up by our parents to eat our veggies and fruits. As adults, how can we expect someone to be behind our backs to eat our veggies and benefit from it? Self-disciplinary action should come from within every individual after a certain age and no age is too late to start taking a positive action. A study on older women above the age of 70 has proved the same that no age is too late to start eating healthy veggies, especially crucifers such as broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbages and cauliflowers, as these might be helpful in decreasing the risk of heart disease.
The fact that healthy diets dominant in vegetables lowers risk of heart disease and stroke is nothing new. But, there are very few studies that convey that certain vegetables aid in preventing atherosclerosis, the main reason for strokes and heart attacks.
Veggies & Older Women
Researchers analyzed 954 older women aged above 70 years using ultrasound to analyze the thickness of the walls of the carotid artery in the neck and the severity of plaque accumulation within them to the total vegetables intake as well as intake of specific vegetables. The study found that women who ate more vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables, had healthier carotid arteries. Cruciferous veggies are a unique group that come with their own set of advantages as listed down at www.firsteatright.com.
In comparison to women who ate less than two servings of vegetables a day, women who consumed at least three servings of vegetables daily had a 5% decrease (0.036 millimeters) in carotid artery walls. Also, a 10-gram increase in intake of cruciferous vegetables was linked to a 0.8% decrease in artery wall thickness.
But there is no rock-hard evidence supporting that cruciferous veggies enhance heart health and individuals should not misunderstand that eating crucifers alone can make them healthy. Instead, they should start eating all vegetables to lower risk of heart disease. Vegetables are brimming with vitamins and minerals that help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress-factors that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Inflammation is key to atherosclerosis and you are definitely doing good to your body by eating vegetables, especially crucifers. How you eat, either raw, cooked, steamed or sautéed, depends upon the individual as every style of cooking comes with its own set of advantages.
The question here is whether the same study will be feasible and hold benefits on men too? Also, as life expectancy increases and people grow old, we need to be aware of the diet choices, especially vegetables, that can impact overall vascular health and survival.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.