To clarify the disease-preventing effects of specific food components, multifaceted studies including basic research, clinical research, and epidemiological studies are needed. In this context, the author has focused on polyphenols and carotenoids and examined their potential to prevent atherosclerotic diseases through their diverse functions such as inhibition of oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and inflammation, and improvement of vascular function. Since little is known about the amount and sources of polyphenol intake in Japan, the authors measured the total polyphenol contents of commonly consumed foods in Japan, established a database, and estimated the polyphenol intake of several populations. Furthermore, cross-sectional studies and a prospective cohort study clarified that polyphenol intake was negatively associated with oxidative stress markers and the risk of coronary artery disease. These findings may help to clarify the mechanisms of action of functional food components for prevention of atherosclerosis and provide important data on food and health among the Japanese population.