Dr Lauren Blekkenhorst
Edith Cowan University
9 October 2019

Increasing vegetable intake is one of the cornerstones for cardiovascular health.

Last month the Australian Government committed to strengthening Australians’ health through a $440 million commitment for research to prevent illness and deliver better care.

A total of 298 new projects received funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Many Australians have been impacted by cardiovascular disease; from losing a loved one to caring for loved ones after a heart attack or stroke.

Dr Lauren Blekkenhorst from Edith Cowan University has received over $630,000 from the National Health and Medical Research Council for research into how these events are preventable by modifying diet and lifestyle earlier in life.   

Dr Blekkenhorst’s research will provide robust evidence on the cardiovascular health benefits of specific vegetables and their bioactive components.

“We know that eating a wide variety of vegetables can reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke” 

Outcomes of her research will guide policy and practice to promote enhanced recommendations to increase the intake of specific vegetables that are most important for improved cardiovascular health and longevity of the Australian population.

“This grant will allow me to dig deeper and look at which specific vegetables provide the greatest reduction in risk.”

“I will also be exploring what particular components found in these vegetables provide the protective effects. There are many bioactive compounds in vegetables that we still don’t know much about,” said Dr Blekkenhorst.

Over the next five years, Dr Blekkenhorst hopes to establish a robust and novel evidence base that identifies specific vegetables that promote cardiovascular health.

“This evidence will translate into national and international guidelines and will be the foundation to promote the increased intake of specific vegetables for reducing the incidence of premature death from cardiovascular disease and the substantial burden it has on the wider community,” said Dr Blekkenhorst.

It is vital that we base dietary recommendations on robust scientific evidence to help Australians achieve optimal health throughout life.

Current advice on the amount and kinds of foods that we need to eat for health and wellbeing can be found at eatforhealth.gov.au.

A full list of grant recipients is available on NHMRC’s website.

Featured image Credit
Photo supplied by: Dr Lauren Blekkenhorst