The study used data from the fourth Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES), in which 2,999 women between the ages of 40 and 64 had their total intake of fruits and vegetables from a 24-hour dietary recall estimated.
The results showed increased vegetable consumption to be associated with a decreased proportion of metabolic syndrome, central obesity and high blood pressure. This was the case especially for postmenopausal participants, particularly those whose vegetable intake was high.
Interestingly, while total fruit intake correlated with a lower risk of high blood pressure, total vegetable intake was inversely proportional to the risk of metabolic syndrome, which is characterised by impaired blood glucose, elevated blood pressure and abdominal obesity.
Metabolic syndrome is also associated “with an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, particularly in women”, its prevalence increasing significantly in women aged 50 and above. In fact, postmenopausal women are twice as likely as premenopausal women to suffer from metabolic syndrome, hypertension and central obesity.
The study noted: “The reason why the inverse association in postmenopausal women was found in vegetables rather than fruits can be because most food sources rich in phytoestrogens in (the) Korean diet are vegetables, such as soybeans and mushrooms.”
Other factors, such as sodium intake, alcohol and tobacco consumption, and exercise frequency were also taken into account. It was observed that sodium intake affects the inverse relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and the risk of metabolic syndrome.
The study’s authors acknowledged its 24-hour dietary recall as a limitation, and concluded that “further longitudinal studies are warranted to elucidate the associations”.
Source: Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition
“Relationship between fruit and vegetable intake and the risk of metabolic syndrome and its disorders in Korean women according to menopausal status”
Authors: Seo Ah Hong, Mi Kyung Kim