Background: The consumption of green leafy vegetables (GLVs) has been demonstrated to reduce the risks associated with cardiovascular and other diseases. However, no literature exists that examines the influence of traditional and novel GLVs on the liver fatty acid profile of an animal model genetically predisposed to developing hypertension. The aim of the present study was to examine the effects of diets containing 4% collard greens, purslane or sweet potato greens on the liver fatty acid profiles of four-week old male spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs, N = 44). Following four weeks consumption of the diets, liver fatty acid profiles were determined by gas-liquid chromatography of transesterified fatty acid methyl esters.
Results: SHRs consuming the control diet had greater percentages of liver saturated fatty acid and less omega-3 fatty acid percentages. SHRs consuming the diets containing vegetables had significantly greater liver concentrations of γ- linolenic, docosahexaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids, as well as lower levels of lauric, palmitic and arachidonic acids. SHRs consuming the control diet had significantly greater percentages (p < 0.05) of oleic; significantly less γ-linolenic and docosahexaenoic acids.
Conclusions: This study demonstrates the ability of GLVs to modulate liver fatty acid composition, thus providing protection against elevations in atherogenic fatty acids, which may be involved in CVD pathogenesis. Consequently, dietary recommendations for the prevention of CVD should consider the possible cardioprotective benefits and the subsequent alterations in fatty acid profiles afforded by diets containing collard greens, purslane and sweet potato greens.