Cruciferous vegetable intake is inversely associated with extensive abdominal aortic calcification in elderly women: a cross-sectional study

Br J Nutr. 2021 Feb 14;125(3):337-345. doi: 10.1017/S0007114520002706. Epub 2020 Jul 17.


We have previously shown that higher intake of cruciferous vegetables is inversely associated with carotid artery intima-media thickness. To further test the hypothesis that an increased consumption of cruciferous vegetables is associated with reduced indicators of structural vascular disease in other areas of the vascular tree, we aimed to investigate the cross-sectional association between cruciferous vegetable intake and extensive calcification in the abdominal aorta. Dietary intake was assessed, using a FFQ, in 684 older women from the Calcium Intake Fracture Outcome Study. Cruciferous vegetables included cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli. Abdominal aortic calcification (AAC) was scored using the Kauppila AAC24 scale on dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry lateral spine images and was categorised as 'not extensive' (0-5) or 'extensive' (≥6). Mean age was 74·9 (sd 2·6) years, median cruciferous vegetable intake was 28·2 (interquartile range 15·0-44·7) g/d and 128/684 (18·7 %) women had extensive AAC scores. Those with higher intakes of cruciferous vegetables (>44·6 g/d) were associated with a 46 % lower odds of having extensive AAC in comparison with those with lower intakes (<15·0 g/d) after adjustment for lifestyle, dietary and CVD risk factors (ORQ4 v. Q1 0·54, 95 % CI 0·30, 0·97, P = 0·036). Total vegetable intake and each of the other vegetable types were not related to extensive AAC (P > 0·05 for all). This study strengthens the hypothesis that higher intake of cruciferous vegetables may protect against vascular calcification.

Keywords: Abdominal aortic calcification; Arteriosclerosis; Atherosclerosis; Cruciferous vegetables; Vascular calcification; Vegetables; Women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Aged
  • Aorta, Abdominal / diagnostic imaging
  • Aorta, Abdominal / pathology*
  • Brassica*
  • Brassicaceae*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet Surveys
  • Eating
  • Elder Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Vascular Calcification / diagnostic imaging
  • Vascular Calcification / prevention & control*
  • Vegetables*