Background/Aims: Vegetable intake is consistently associated with reduced risk of CVD in observational studies. Fewer studies have investigated the link between green leafy vegetables and CVD, and the relationships in the elderly are unknown. Our aim was to investigate the relationships between green leafy vegetables and CVD mortality in elderly women.
Methods: 1,456 women aged 70-85 years at baseline (mean 75.2 (SD 2.7) years), were followed-up for 15 years. Green leafy vegetable intake, including lettuce and other salad greens, celery, spinach and silverbeet, was measured at baseline using a validated food frequency questionnaire. Cause-specific deaths were examined using adjusted Cox regression modelling. The primary outcome was CVD death.
Results: Mean (±SD) consumption of green leafy vegetables at baseline was 19±12 g/d, which included lettuce and other salad greens (9±7 g/d), celery (6±5 g/d), and spinach and silverbeet (4±6 g/d). During follow-up, CVD was the primary cause of death in 235 (16.1%) participants. In multivariable-adjusted analyses (adjusted for age and other variables related to CVD), the HR (95% CI) per SD increase was: (i) lettuce and other salad greens, 0.78 (0.66, 0.92) P=0.004; (ii) celery, 0.93 (0.79, 1.09) P=0.367; (iii) spinach and silverbeet, 1.01 (0.86, 1.19) P=0.885; and (iv) total green leafy vegetables, 0.84 (0.72, 0.99) P=0.037.
Conclusions: Higher intakes of green leafy vegetables, particularly lettuce and other salad greens, were associated with a substantially lower risk of CVD mortality in this cohort of elderly women.
Funding source(s): NHMRC and Healthway