Eat your veggies

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: September 28th, 2006
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

If it weren’t enough for science to prove chicken soup truly is good for you, research has come along to support yet another bit of motherly wisdom eat vegetables.

Of course, few ever argued that eating vegetables was bad. But perhaps only mom appreciated the full benefits of the fibrous filler.

Wake Forest University scientists learned a mixture of five common vegetables the non-exotic fodder mother was so fond of serving actually reduces hardening of the arteries, which could prevent heart attacks and strokes.

The study funded by General Mills used specially bred mice that had high levels of the so-called “bad,” or L-D-L, cholesterol.

Half of the mice ate a vegetable-free diet. The other half received about a third of their calories from a mixture of freeze-dried broccoli, green beans, corn, peas and carrots mainstays of the American menu.

The results in a recent issue of the Journal of Nutrition showed the vegetable-eating mice had fatty deposits in their arteries called plaques that were thirty-eight percent smaller than those in the mice fed vegetable-free diets. Cholesterol levels in the blood also improved.

Scientists aren’t certain exactly how the high-vegetable diet influenced the development of plaques, but they noticed a thirty-seven percent reduction in a certain marker of inflammation in vegetable-munching mice.

With atherosclerosis previously linked to inflammation in the arteries, it could be vegetables stop plaque buildup because of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities.

More scientific tests may one day tell the story. Or, we could just ask mom