Eating These Vegetables Lower Inflammation and Mortality Risk

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Could the secret to a longer, healthier life be hiding in your vegetable drawer? A new study suggests that consuming cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower may lower inflammation and reduce mortality risk.

recent study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food has shed light on the potential of certain common foods to lower inflammation and reduce mortality risk. The study, led by researchers from the University of South Florida and the University of Memphis, analyzed data from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) to identify specific foods associated with chronic inflammation and mortality.1

The researchers selected three plant-based and three animal-based food categories from the MESA study based on their perceived availability in the Western diet. The plant-based categories included avocado, greens, and broccoli, while the animal-based categories were ham, sausage, and eggs.1

The study assessed several inflammatory markers, including interleukin-6 (IL-6), fibrinogen antigen, C-reactive protein, D-Dimer, interleukin-2, matrix metalloproteinase 3, necrosis factor-a soluble receptors, oxidized LDL (oxLDL), and total homocysteine. The primary outcome was the multivariable association of foods and inflammatory markers with all-cause mortality.1

All inflammatory markers, except oxLDL, were found to be associated with mortality in univariate analysis, with the largest effect seen with IL-6 and D-dimer. Notably, the category of broccoli, which included broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, sauerkraut, and kimchee, had the most consistent association in univariate analyses with lower inflammation and lower mortality odds.1

In the multivariable models with IL-6 and D-dimer, both low and high broccoli consumption were associated with lower mortality odds compared to no consumption. These findings suggest that consuming cruciferous vegetables may have a protective effect against chronic inflammation and mortality risk.1

Lead author Nicholas W. Carris, PharmD, BCPS, BCCCP, an associate professor at the University of South Florida, explained the significance of the study: "Our findings highlight the potential of common foods, particularly cruciferous vegetables, to lower inflammation and improve health outcomes. While many people may struggle to follow a complete, healthy diet, incorporating these vegetables into their regular meals could make a significant difference."2

The study's co-author, Ganesh V. Halade, PhD, an associate professor at the University of Memphis, emphasized the need for further research: "These findings should be validated in randomized controlled trials testing a 'food is medicine' approach to identify which, if any, of these foods may have potential as an herbal therapeutic for chronic inflammation."2

Chronic inflammation has been linked to various health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.3 The findings of this study suggest that dietary interventions, particularly those involving cruciferous vegetables, may play a crucial role in reducing inflammation and improving overall health outcomes.

As the search for natural and accessible ways to promote health and longevity continues, the humble cruciferous vegetable may prove to be a powerful ally in the fight against chronic inflammation and mortality risk. Further research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms behind these protective effects and to develop targeted dietary interventions that can harness the power of these common foods.

to learn more about the power of cruciferous vegetables for health and wellness, visit our database on the subject here.


1. Carris NW, Mhaskar R, Coughlin E, et al. Association of Common Foods with Inflammation and Mortality: Analysis from a Large Prospective Cohort Study. J Med Food. 2024;27(3):267-274. doi:10.1089/jmf.2023.0203.

2 Carris NW, Halade GV. Personal communication. April 2024.

3: Furman D, Campisi J, Verdin E, et al. Chronic inflammation in the etiology of disease across the life span. Nat Med. 2019;25(12):1822-1832. doi:10.1038/s41591-019-0675-0

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