Recently, considerable attention has been focused on the role of dietary antioxidants (particularly vitamin E, carotenoids and vitamin C) in counteracting the formation of lipid peroxides and oxidative modifications of LDLs, which play an important role in the progression of atherosclerosis. Dietary fiber binds bile acids and increases formation of micelles in the intestinal lumen. It may lead to decreased absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. In experiments on the influence of dietary fiber components on absorption of vitamin A and P-carotene in animals, conflicting results were obtained (43, 44). It should be mentioned, however, that diets rich in plant foods and high in fiber are also rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C, tocopherols and tocotrienols, carotenoids and other phenolic compounds such as tannins with high antioxidative properties. If dietary fibers were to suppress the absorption of dietary antioxidants, such action of fiber would be compensated by a simultaneous rise in dietary antioxidant intake.
Hostmark et al. (45) observed that in nonvegetarians who consumed a typical vegetarian diet for three weeks, apart from a reduction of total cholesterol, the concentration of lipid peroxides in blood decreased significantly. This observation suggests that the antioxidant status in humans is influenced by dietary habits, and may explain why many epidemiological studies show an inverse relationship between intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, rich in fiber and antioxi-dants, and mortality from CHD.
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