Improve your heart health and reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases by consuming more plant-based foods, suggest a new study.
"While you don't have to give up foods derived from animals completely, our study does suggest that eating a larger proportion of plant-based foods and a smaller proportion of animal-based foods may help reduce your risk of having a heart attack, stroke or other type of cardiovascular disease," study lead author Casey M. Rebholz, Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told a news portal.
For the study, the team examined a database which shared information on the food intake of more than 10,000 people in the US, whose patterns were observed from 1987 till 2016. At the beginning of the study, none of the participants had heart disease. They then categorized each participant into various groups based on their eating patterns.
They made the following observations in people who consumed more plant-based foods:
* Their risk of premature death from cardiovascular disease was reduced by 32 per cent.
* Their risk of developing heart failure, heart attacks or stroke was reduced by 16 per cent.
* Their risk of dying from any illness was reduced by 25 per cent.
"Our findings underscore the importance of focusing on your diet. There might be some variability in terms of individual foods, but to reduce cardiovascular disease risk people should eat more vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fruits, legumes and fewer animal-based foods. These findings are pretty consistent with previous findings about other dietary patterns, including the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH diet, which emphasize the same food items," Rebholz told a news portal.
This is the first study to investigate meal portions of plant-based and animal-based foods. Now, the team hopes to investigate the quality of plant-based foods to understand, which ones have a healthier impact on our bodies to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death. "The American Heart Association recommends eating a mostly plant-based diet, provided the foods you choose are rich in nutrition and low in added sugars, sodium, cholesterol and artery-clogging saturated and trans fats. For example, French fries or cauliflower pizza with cheese are plant based but are low in nutritional value and are loaded with sodium (salt). Unprocessed foods, like fresh fruit, vegetables and grains are good choices," Mariell Jessup, M.D., the chief science and medical officer of the American Heart Association, told a news portal.
However, the team noted the study was observational and they have yet to fully study the cause and effect. The study's findings were originally published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.