This study was designed to test the hypothesis that alteration of cardiovascular autonomic functions by vegetarian diets in healthy postmenopausal women is related to lipid metabolism. A total of 70 healthy postmenopausal women not on hormone therapy participated in this study: 35 were vegetarians (mean age 55.0 years) and 35 were omnivores (mean age 55.1 years). Cardiovascular autonomic functions and baroreflex sensitivity were evaluated by specific frequency-domain measures of heart rate variability (HRV) and arterial blood pressure fluctuation. The vegetarians had statistically significant lowered blood pressure, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, triglyceride, and fasting glucose levels compared with the omnivores. The vegetarians exhibited a significant higher total power, low-frequency (LF; 0.04-0.15 Hz) and high-frequency (HF; 0.15-0.4 Hz) of HRV and increased baroreflex sensitivity measures [Brr(LF) and Brr(HF)] compared with the omnivores. Total power, LF and HF of HRV, Brr(LF), and Brr(HF) were significantly and negatively correlated with LDL-cholesterol concentrations (P < 0.01). We concluded that the increases of cardiac vagal activity and baroreflex sensitivity by vegetarian diets in postmenopausal women are inversely related to LDL-cholesterol levels.