Reviews in Clinical Gerontology

Review Article

Effect of diet on vascular health

CT McEvoya1, CE Nevillea1, NJ Templea2 and JV Woodsidea1 c1

a1 Centre for Public Health, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, UK

a2 Centre for Science, Athabasca University, Athabasca, Canada


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the Western world in older people. Diet and lifestyle change can reduce CVD risk in older people, and this evidence base is reviewed. For example, diets low in trans fats can reduce CVD risk, while for saturated fats the CVD-lowering effect depends on what is substituted for the saturated fat. Diets rich in fish reduce CVD risk, although n-3 supplements have not been shown to have a consistent effect on CVD end-points. Antioxidant and B-group vitamin supplementation are unlikely to reduce CVD risk, but diets rich in these micronutrients (e.g. rich in fruits and vegetables and the Mediterranean diet) are associated with lower CVD risk, while, for the Mediterranean diet, this has been supported by randomized controlled trials. Maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active reduce CVD risk factors and CVD incidence and mortality.

(Online publication November 20 2013)

Key words:

  • cardiovascular disease risk;
  • older people;
  • diet


c1 Address for correspondence: Professor Jayne Woodside, Nutrition and Metabolism Group, Centre for Public Health, Institute of Clinical Science B, Grosvenor Road, Belfast BT12 6BJ, UK Email: