According to Recent polls, approximately 864,000 Americans die each year from cardiovascular disease, making up 35% of all deaths in the United States. Obesity elevates the risk for contracting heart disease because of diets rich in fat and cholesterol, which are two factors that majorly contribute to this upward trend in diagnosis. A step in the right direction in the prevention of heart disease is an increase in the consumption of fruits and vegetables. A frequently consumed vegetable, the carrot, is high in fiber, carotenoids, vitamin C and E and phenolic, all essential nutrients needed in our diets. Increased phenolic compounds in the diet parallel a decreased risk of vascular diseases, inhibiting LDL oxidization and total ADL cholesterol. The juice from carrots, containing the most concentration of nutrients, has the positive effect of reducing inflammation and increasing levels of plasma antioxidants.
A study done at Texas A & M University-Kingsville took 8 males and 9 females with elevated plasma cholesterol and triglycerides and asked them to drink 16 oz. of fresh carrot juice for 3 months. A blood sample was taken before and after the 90 study. The results of this study did not change the subjects weight or BMI but did lower systolic pressure by 5 percent and had also showed an unchanged diastolic, showing a decrease in blood pressure. The fasting plasma chemistry marked a significant increase in antioxidant levels and a decrease in malondialdehyde production. An interesting note in this study was that the male and female subjects both started the study with different levels of malondialdehyde in their blood (men being greater number) and by the end of the 90 day’s of carrot juice consumption, the levels in both genders were the same.
This study concluded that there is an association between vegetable intact and a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease in that there is a lowering of blood pressure by carrot juices increase in vasodilation. Because the plasma levels of cholesterol and triglycerides were unchanged, it is evident that both additional dietary and lifestyle changes are required in reducing the risk for cardiovascular disease, but also that an extra bit of veggies a day does go a long way!
Andrew S Potter, Shahrzad Foroudi, Alexis Stamatikos, Bhimanagouda S Patil, Farzad Deyhim Nutrition Journal 2011, 10:96 (24 September 2011)