Rebecca Stack



Document Type



Despite the fact that women suffer higher rates of cardiovascular events after menopause, there exists a significant underrepresentation of women—especially postmenopausal women—in cardiovascular clinical trials to date. Fortunately, current evidence reveals that cardiovascular events in the general population are largely preventable through modifiable lifestyle factors, with dietary intervention being one of the most important (Amiri et al., 2022). As the impact of whole-diet interventions on cardiovascular risk factors is further explored, it has been determined that a plant-based dietary pattern may favorably influence the prevention of cardiovascular events in postmenopausal women (Barańska et al., 2021). Evidence also reveals that certain phytochemicals which are provided in bulk by a plant-based diet, such as phytoestrogens, may be particularly beneficial to the health of the postmenopausal population (Barańska et al., 2021). This comprehensive literature review will attempt to evaluate exactly how a plant-based diet can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women by examining relevant clinical trials, identifying and explaining the beneficial effects of various cardioprotective phytochemicals, and by considering how popular plant-based diets like the Mediterranean Diet are conducive to heart health. As early as 2006, Chin-Hua Fu et al. established that a plant-based diet may be a natural and effective approach to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women (Fu et al., 2006). This review concludes that more well-designed controlled clinical trials should be conducted with this population to achieve more conclusive results regarding the most effective diet for cardiovascular risk reduction in postmenopausal women.


Health and Kinnesiology

Thesis Comittee

Dr. Kathleen M. Laquale, Thesis Advisor
Dr. Suanne S. Maurer, Thesis Advisor
Dr. Angela Bailey, Committee Member