The survey had 2,999 participants who were Korean women aged between 40 and 64. They were told to recall the total consumption of fruits and vegetables over a period of 24 hours.
The results revealed increased vegetable consumption to be linked to a decreased proportion of metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure and abdominal obesity. This association was more prevalent in postmenopausal participants, especially in those who consumed a high amount of vegetables. Metabolic syndrome is characterised by impaired blood glucose, elevated blood pressure, and abdominal obesity. Its association with an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease was apparent, particularly in women, according to the study.
As the prevalence of metabolic syndrome increases remarkably after the age of 50, it is considered that the pattern of the syndrome in women differs with menopausal status. Clinical and experimental evidence suggests that a dramatic decrease in endogenous estrogen after menopause can lead to the emergence of the syndrome and its disorders—including cardiovascular disease—because estrogen does not provide sufficient protection against oxidative stress after menopause.
Interestingly, results suggest that while fruit intake was inversely associated with high blood pressure in premenopausal women, greater dietary intake of vegetables may protect against the risk of metabolic syndrome, particularly in postmenopausal women.
From the results of the study, fresh produce distributors could tap on marketing the health benefits of consuming vegetables in correlation with reduced risk of metabolic syndrome in women.