Nutrition and Atherosclerosis

Arch Med Res. 2015 Jul;46(5):408-26. doi: 10.1016/j.arcmed.2015.05.010. Epub 2015 May 29.


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a universal problem in modern society. Atherosclerosis is the leading cause of CVD resulting in high rate of mortality in the population. Nutrition science has focused on the role of essential nutrients in preventing deficiencies, at the present time, the nutritional strategies are crucial to promote health and intervene with these global noncommunicable diseases. In many cases, diet is a major driving force, which is much easier to change and follow than other factors. It is important to establish that the first strategy to treat atherosclerosis is to modify lifestyle habits, focusing on the beneficial properties of specific nutrients. In the last decades, epidemiological, clinical and experimental studies have demonstrated that diet plays a central role in the prevention of atherosclerosis. In this review we will focus on the effect of specific foods, nutrients and bioactive compounds, including epidemiological facts, potential mechanisms of action and dietary recommendations to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. In particular, we include information about fiber, plant sterols and stanols, niacin, taurine, olive oil, omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, minerals, methyl nutrients and soy. In addition, we also show that dysbiosis of the intestinal microbiota associated with a consumption of certain animal food sources can generate some metabolites that are involved in the development of atherosclerosis and its consequences on CVD. According to the epidemiological, clinical and experimental studies we suggest a recommendation for some dietary foods, nutrients and bioactive compounds to support the complementary clinical management of patients with atherosclerosis.

Keywords: Diet; antioxidants; cardiovascular disease; cholesterol; nutrients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Atherosclerosis / epidemiology*
  • Atherosclerosis / etiology
  • Atherosclerosis / prevention & control
  • Atherosclerosis / therapy
  • Diet*
  • Diet, Mediterranean
  • Food
  • Humans
  • Nutritional Status


  • Antioxidants