Researchers at the MedStar Research Institute, in Hyattsville, Maryland, reviewed studies of nutrition in women.

Those emphasizing gender differences in nutritional requirements were selected for this review.

Here’s what we know.

  • Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
    • Data from observational studies support their value for coronary heart disease prevention.
  • Fish
    • Well-designed comparative studies support for consuming fish at least twice a week.
    • Women of childbearing age should limit their intake of fish that may contain high levels of mercury.
  • Nuts
    • Nutritious snacks, but their caloric impact must be considered.
  • Soy products
    • No effect on low LDL (bad) cholesterol or on coronary heart disease.
    • They may be beneficial in replacing high-fat meat.
  • Foods supplemented with plant stanol/sterol-esters
    • Recommended for reducing LDL cholesterol.
  • Antioxidant supplementation
    • Not recommended to prevent heart disease.
  • Vitamin D deficiency
    • A cause and effect relationship between with coronary heart disease has not been established.
  • Homocysteine lowering
    • Folic acid and B-complex vitamin supplementation do not improve coronary heart disease risk.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “More gender-specific analyses are needed to determine whether nutritional requirements differ between men and women.”

11/17/10 21:27 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.