Olugbenga Adebawo1, Bamidele Salau1 , Esther Ezima1, Olamilekan Oyefuga1, Emmanuel Ajani1, Gbolahan Idowu2, Adekunle Famodu3 and Odutola Osilesi1

Abstract

Hyperlipidemia is a major risk factor in etiology of cardiovascular disease. Previous studies have shown association between vegetarian diet and low total serum cholesterol as well as LDL-cholesterol which is a pointer to low risk of cardiovascular disease. Dietary fiber, antioxidants and other classes of nutrients have been reported to ameliorate cardiovascular risk factors. Fruits and vegetables being rich sources of fiber and antioxidants have been the focus in intervention studies. The current work reports the effect local fruits and vegetables on cardiovascular risk factors in African hypertensive subjects in an 8 week study. Though there was no significant difference in the Body Mass Index and HDL-cholesterol at the end of the eighth week, there were significant reductions (P < 0.05) in serum triglycerides (125.87 ± 6.0 to108.27 ± 5.49 mgdL-1); total serum cholesterol (226.60 ± 6.15 to 179.20 ± 5.78) and LDL-cholesterol (135.69 ± 5.56 to 93.07 ± 7.18 mgdL-1). We concluded that consumption of combination of local fruits and vegetables may reduce the incidence of cardiovascular risk factors in Africans.

Introduction

Several epidemiological studies have implicated hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyc eridemia as major factors in the etiology of vascular disease[1,2]. Other prospective studies have equally shown that serum cholesterol [3], LDL-cholesterol [4], body mass index or obesity index, atherogenic index [5] and coronary risk index [6] are major risk factors in cardiovascular diseases.

Some studies have investigated the nutritional status of white and black American vegetarians [7,8]. These authors reported lower serum total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) as well as cholesterol in vegetarians and suggested lower cardiovascular risk and essentially lower blood pressure (BP)among vegetarians. Similar results were obtained with Native African vegetarians [9].

Hypertension is a common cause of cardiovascular disorders and is essentially associated with abnormal lipid and altered glucose metabolism [10,11]. Among the classes of food that have been taken to be beneficial in reducing risk of cardiovascular disorders are fruits and vegetables due to their high level of fibres [12], antioxidants [13] and complex carbohydrates [14].

Intervention studies of disease prevention with fruits or vegetables or both in Africans are rare. It is important to determine if fruits and vegetables are associated with lower BP and blood lipid and other risk factors for cardiovascular complications.

 

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