Dietary nitrate and diet quality: An examination of changing dietary intakes within a representative sample of Australian women
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© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Dietary nitrate is increasingly linked to a variety of beneficial health outcomes. Our purpose was to estimate dietary nitrate consumption and identify key dietary changes which have occurred over time within a representative sample of Australian women. Women from the 1946–1951 cohort of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health with complete food frequency questionnaire data for both 2001 and 2013 were included for analysis. Dietary nitrate intakes were calculated using key published nitrate databases. Diet quality scores including the Australian Recommended Food Score, the Mediterranean Diet Score and the Nutrient Rich Foods Index were calculated along with food group serves as per the Australian Dietary Guidelines. Wilcoxon matched pairs tests were used to test for change in dietary intakes and Spearman’s correlations were used to examine associations. In our sample of 8161 Australian women, dietary nitrate intakes were on average 65–70 mg/day, and we detected a significant increase in dietary nitrate consumption over time (+6.57 mg/day). Vegetables were the primary source of dietary nitrate (81–83%), in particular lettuce (26%), spinach (14–20%), beetroot (10–11%), and celery (7–8%) contributed primarily to vegetable nitrate intakes. Further, increased dietary nitrate intakes were associated with improved diet quality scores (r = 0.3, p < 0.0001). Although there is emerging evidence indicating that higher habitual dietary nitrate intakes are associated with reduced morbidity and mortality, future work in this area should consider how dietary nitrate within the context of overall diet quality can facilitate health to ensure consistent public health messages are conveyed.
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