Eating more nutritious, plant-based foods is good for the heart at any age, according to new studies.
In two separate studies analyzing different measures of consumption of healthy plant foods, researchers found that young adults and postmenopausal women had fewer heart attacks and were less likely to develop cardiovascular disease when they ate more food. healthy plants.
The studies were recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, an open access journal of the American Heart Association.
The American Heart Association’s diet and lifestyle recommendations suggest an overall healthy diet that emphasizes a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, poultry, and fish. skinless, nuts and legumes and non-tropical vegetable oils. He also advises limiting the consumption of saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, red meat, sweets and sugary drinks.
One study, titled “A Plant-Centered Diet and Risk of Incident Cardiovascular Disease during Young to Middle Adulthood,” assessed whether long-term consumption of a plant-centered diet and a switch to a plant-centered diet at from young adulthood are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease in midlife.
“Previous research focused on single nutrients or foods, but there is little data on a plant-based diet and the long-term risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Yuni Choi, lead author of the study. on Young Adults and Postdoctoral Fellow in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota at Minneapolis.
The researchers found:
People who ranked in the top 20% on the long-term diet quality score (meaning they ate the most nutrient-dense plant foods and less poorly rated animal products) were 52% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease, after taking into account several factors (including age, sex, race, average calorie consumption, education, parental history of heart disease, smoking and average physical activity).
In addition, between the 7th and the 20th year of the study, when the participants were between the ages of 25 and 50, those who improved the quality of their diet the most (eating more beneficial plant foods and less animal products). misjudged) were 61% less likely to develop subsequent cardiovascular problems. disease, compared to participants whose diet quality declined the most during this period.
There were few vegetarians among the participants, so the study was unable to assess the possible benefits of a strict vegetarian diet, which excludes all animal products, including meat, vegetables. dairy products and eggs. “A nutrient-dense, plant-centered diet is beneficial for cardiovascular health. A plant-based diet doesn’t have to be vegetarian,” Choi said. âPeople can choose from plant foods that are as close to nature as possible, not highly processed. We believe that individuals can include animal products in moderation from time to time, such as un-fried poultry, un-fried fish, eggs, and fatty dairy products. “
Because this study is observational, it cannot prove a cause and effect relationship between diet and heart disease.
In another study, “Relationship between a plant-based diet portfolio and cardiovascular disease risk: results from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) prospective cohort study”, researchers, in collaboration with investigators from the WHI, led by Simin Liu, at Brown University, assessed whether diets comprising a dietary portfolio of plant-based foods with health claims approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration to lower rates of ” bad âcholesterol (known as theâ wallet diet â) were associated with fewer cardiovascular disease events in a large group of postmenopausal women.
The “wallet diet” includes nuts; vegetable protein from soy, beans or tofu; viscous soluble fiber from oats, barley, okra, eggplant, oranges, apples and berries; plant sterols from fortified foods and monounsaturated fats found in olive and canola oil and avocados; with limited consumption of saturated fat and dietary cholesterol. Previously, two randomized trials had shown that reaching high target levels of foods included in the portfolio diet resulted in a significant decrease in “bad” cholesterol or low density lipoprotein (LDL-C) cholesterol, more than a traditional diet low in saturated fat. Cholesterol and diet education in one study and comparable to taking a cholesterol-lowering statin in another.
The researchers found:
Compared with women who followed the Portfolio diet less frequently, those closest to alignment were 11% less likely to develop any type of cardiovascular disease, 14% less likely to develop coronary heart disease, and 17% less likely to develop coronary heart disease. develop heart failure.
There was no association between more closely following the Portfolio diet and developing a stroke or atrial fibrillation.
âThese findings present an important opportunity, as there is still room for people to incorporate more cholesterol-lowering plant foods into their diets. as much as cholesterol lowering drugs. Still, an 11% reduction is clinically significant and would hit anyone’s minimum threshold for benefit. The results indicate that the wallet diet produces benefits for heart health, âsaid John Sievenpiper, lead author of the study at St. Michael’s Hospital, a Unity Health Toronto site in Ontario, Canada, and associate professor of science. Nutrition and Medicine at the University of Toronto.
Researchers believe the findings highlight possible opportunities for reducing heart disease by encouraging people to consume more foods from the Portfolio Diet.
“We also found a dose-response in our study, which means you can start small, adding one component of the Portfolio diet at a time, and see more heart health benefits as you add more. components, âsaid Andrea J. Glenn, lead study author and doctoral student at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto.
Although the study was observational and could not directly establish a cause-and-effect relationship between diet and cardiovascular events, the researchers believe it provides the most reliable estimate of the diet-heart relationship to date. due to its study design (including well-validated food frequency questionnaires administered at baseline and at year 3 in a large population of very dedicated participants).
Nonetheless, investigators report that these findings need to be explored further in additional populations of younger men or women.