Study: Plant-Based Diets May Improve Vascular Health in African-American Individuals

Plant-based diets may be cardioprotective and improve vascular health in African-American individuals, according to a new study.

The study, titled The impact of a plant-based diet on indices of cardiovascular health in African Americans: a cross-sectional study, was published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, and was epublished by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. It was conducted by research at the The University of Texas at Arlington’s Department of Kinesiology.

“African-American (AA) individuals are disproportionately affected by cardiovascular diseases”, states the study. “Plant-based diets (PBD) may be cardioprotective in part through their high antioxidant capacity and low inflammatory load.”

With this in mind, researchers “tested the hypothesis that AA individuals adhering to a 100% PBD would have better vascular health than AA individuals following a typical American diet (TAD).”

For the study, 18 AA individuals participated; “9 (24 ± 4 years; 6 females) were following a PBD for 2.4 ± 0.8 years and 9 (21 ± 2 years; 5 females) were following a TAD.” Blood lipids and C-reactive protein (CRP) were assessed. Peripheral and central blood pressure (BP) were measured, and vascular function tests included cerebrovascular reactivity to hypercapnia, brachial artery flow-mediated dilation and reactive hyperemia, and local heating-induced cutaneous hyperemia.

“Total (TC) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL-C) serum cholesterol was lower and serum CRP tended to be lower in the PBD cohort”, found researchers. “Brachial (b) and central (c) mean arterial BP (MAP) were lower in the PBD cohort.” In addition, “All indices of vascular function were similar between groups.”

Researchers conclude the study by stating that “A PBD was associated with more optimal blood lipid concentrations and decreased peripheral and central BP in AA individuals, but this association was not present in the various indices of vascular function.”

The full abstract of this study can be found below. More information can be found by clicking here.

Abstract

African-American (AA) individuals are disproportionately affected by cardiovascular diseases. Plant-based diets (PBD) may be cardioprotective in part through their high antioxidant capacity and low inflammatory load. We tested the hypothesis that AA individuals adhering to a 100% PBD would have better vascular health than AA individuals following a typical American diet (TAD). Eighteen AA individuals participated; 9 (24 ± 4 years; 6 females) were following a PBD for 2.4 ± 0.8 years and 9 (21 ± 2 years; 5 females) were following a TAD. Blood lipids and C-reactive protein (CRP) were assessed.

Peripheral and central blood pressure (BP) were measured. Vascular function tests included cerebrovascular reactivity to hypercapnia, brachial artery flow-mediated dilation and reactive hyperemia, and local heating-induced cutaneous hyperemia. Total (TC) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL-C) serum cholesterol was lower (TC: 142 ± 30 vs. 174 ± 36 mg/dL; LDL-C: 76 ± 17 vs. 106 ± 33 mg/dL; p < 0.05 and d > 0.80 for both) and serum CRP tended to be lower (0.38 ± 0.18 mg/L vs. 0.96 ± 0.89 mg/L; p = 0.05, d = 0.91) in the PBD cohort. Brachial (b) and central (c) mean arterial BP (MAP) were lower in the PBD cohort (bMAP: 86 ± 5 vs. 91 ± 7 mm Hg; cMAP: 81 ± 5 vs. 87 ± 7 mm Hg; p < 0.05 and d > 0.80 for both). All indices of vascular function were similar between groups (p > 0.05 for all). A PBD was associated with more optimal blood lipid concentrations and decreased peripheral and central BP in AA individuals. This association was not present in the various indices of vascular function.

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