Purpose: Endothelial dysfunction and low-grade inflammation are key phenomena in the pathobiology of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Their dietary modification might explain the observed reduction in CVD that has been associated with a healthy diet rich in fruit, vegetables and fish, low in dairy products and with moderate alcohol and red wine consumption. We investigated the associations between the above food groups and endothelial dysfunction and low-grade inflammation in a population-based cohort of Dutch elderly individuals. Methods: Diet was measured by food frequency questionnaire (n = 801; women = 399; age 68.5 ± 7.2 years). Endothelial dysfunction was determined (1) by combining von Willebrand factor, and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (sICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule 1, endothelial selectin and thrombomodulin, using Z-scores, into a biomarker score and (2) by flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD), and low-grade inflammation by combining C-reactive protein, serum amyloid A, interleukin 6, interleukin 8, tumour necrosis factor α and sICAM-1 into a biomarker score, with smaller FMD and higher scores representing more dysfunction and inflammation, respectively. We used linear regression analyses to adjust associations for sex, age, energy, glucose metabolism, body mass index, smoking, prior CVD, educational level, physical activity and each of the other food groups. Results: Moderate [β (95% CI) −0.13 (−0.33; 0.07)] and high [−0.22 (−0.45; −0.003)] alcohol consumption, and red wine [−0.16 (−0.30; −0.01)] consumption, but none of the other food groups, were associated with a lower endothelial dysfunction biomarker score and a greater FMD. The associations for FMD were, however, not statistically significant. Only red wine consumption was associated with a lower low-grade inflammation biomarker score [−0.18 (−0.33; −0.04)]. Conclusions: Alcohol and red wine consumption may favourably influence processes involved in atherothrombosis.
- Endothelial dysfunction
- Red wine