Functional foods and cardiovascular disease

Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2000 Nov;2(6):467-75. doi: 10.1007/s11883-000-0045-9.


Functional foods are foods that, by virtue of physiologically active food components, provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition. Many functional foods have been found to be potentially beneficial in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of mortality in the United States. These foods include soybeans, oats, psyllium, flaxseed, garlic, tea, fish, grapes, nuts, and stanol- and sterol ester enhanced margarine. When eaten in adequate amounts on a consistent basis, these foods may aid in decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease by several potential mechanisms: lowering blood lipid levels, improving arterial compliance, reducing low-density lipoprotein oxidation, decreasing plaque formation, scavenging free radicals, and inhibiting platelet aggregation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diet therapy*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Dietary Fiber / therapeutic use
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / therapeutic use
  • Flax / therapeutic use
  • Food, Organic*
  • Garlic / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Nuts / therapeutic use
  • Phytosterols / therapeutic use
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • Psyllium / therapeutic use
  • Risk Factors
  • Rosales / therapeutic use
  • Soybean Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Tea / therapeutic use


  • Dietary Fiber
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Phytosterols
  • Soybean Proteins
  • Tea
  • Psyllium