Adequate vegetable consumption is one of the cornerstones of a healthy diet. The recommendation to increase vegetable intake is part of most dietary guidelines. Despite widespread and long-running public health messages to increase vegetable intake, similar to other countries worldwide, less than 1 in 10 adult Australians manage to meet target advice. Dietary guidelines are predominantly based on studies linking diets high in vegetables with lower risk of chronic diseases. Identifying vegetables with the strongest health benefits and incorporating these into dietary recommendations may enhance public health initiatives around vegetable intake. These enhanced public health initiatives would be targeted at reducing the risk of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Specific vegetable types contain high levels of particular nutrients and phytochemicals linked with cardiovascular health benefits. However, it is not clear if increasing intake of these specific vegetable types will result in larger benefits on risk of chronic diseases. This review presents an overview of the evidence for the relationships of specific types of vegetables, including leafy green, cruciferous, allium, yellow-orange-red and legumes, with subclinical and clinical CVD outcomes in observational epidemiological studies.
Keywords: allium; cardiovascular diseases; carotenoids; cruciferous; leafy green; legumes; nitrate; organosulfur compounds; vegetables; yellow-orange-red.