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Study Reveals: Lower Consumption of 6 Vital Foods Tied to Elevated Heart Disease Risk



Recently, a new study that investigates the connection between food and heart disease was published. Given that cardiovascular disease is the main cause of mortality in America, the medical community is quite receptive to this new research.

Researchers were able to identify six important food groups using the data from this study, one of which may surprise you, that, when deficient in the diet, are connected to an elevated risk of heart disease. Here are the results of the extensive, lengthy study, revealing which foods are most crucial to consume consistently to lower the risk of heart disease and why each of these meals may be so vital for heart health.

Results of Nutrition Studies

The research team incorporated the findings of six independent studies for the study, which was published in July 2023 in the European Heart Journal: one epidemiological cohort study, three prospective studies, one randomised control trial, and two standardised case-control studies. Over 240,000 individuals from 80 countries across six continents provided 20 years of data that was collected over a substantial period of time, from 1999 to 2019.

Participants had different economic levels, lifestyles, and genetic make-up and came from all walks of life. Food frequency questionnaires (FFQs) were used by researchers to gather data on participants’ dietary habits, and by meta analysis of this data, they developed a healthy diet score.

The researchers used this diet score to assess the general healthfulness of the patients’ diets and to identify six foods that, when consumed in sufficient quantities, were linked to a lower risk of cardiac events. The diagnosis of heart disease as well as stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and total mortality were among these events.

Fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, fish, and full-fat dairy products were the six food groups they discovered to be preventative against these occurrences. The researchers were even able to estimate the quantities that would produce the optimal heart health benefits from their data:

1.Two to three one-cup portions of fruit every day.
2.two to three one-cup portions of vegetables per day.
3.Weekly servings of three to four half-cups of legumes
4.Seven one-ounce servings of nuts every week.
5.Fish: two to three servings of three ounces per week
6.14 servings a week of either one cup of milk, yoghurt, or 1.5 ounces of cheese are considered dairy.

While the majority of these foods have been demonstrated to be heart-healthy in the past through evidence-based eating plans like the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), the inclusion of full-fat dairy is somewhat novel (more on this in a moment).

But why are these six foods so unique in terms of the effects they have on heart health?

Why These 6 Foods Are Good for Your Heart?

1. Fruits

Fruit provides such a significant, not to mention impactful, diversity of nutrients when it comes to heart health. The entire spectrum of micronutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and plant components, are included in these. Due to their ability to lower systemic inflammation, which if left untreated might result in cardiac sickness, plant chemicals are particularly helpful for maintaining heart health. Fruit is also a fantastic source of fibre. In addition to improving gut and digestive health, soluble fibre actually binds to dietary cholesterol in the small intestine and helps the body eliminate it rather than allowing it to enter the bloodstream. Long-term high cholesterol levels can contribute to atherosclerosis, or the buildup of plaque on vein and artery walls that is so traditionally linked to heart disease.

2. Veggies

Veggies provide many of the same benefits for heart health as fruits, including fibre, vitamins, minerals, and plant-based substances. Numerous veggies (and other plant-based foods) include specific vitamins and minerals that are especially good for heart health. The primary electrolytes—phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and chloride—are among these since they support stable heart rhythms. Additionally, other micronutrients, such as potassium and lower blood pressure, have been associated to improvements in particular disorders that contribute to heart disease.

3. Legumes

To avoid repeating myself, beans provide many of the same healthy components that fruits and vegetables do to promote heart health. The protein they contain is what differentiates them, though. Protein helps the body produce and maintain healthy tissues throughout time, including muscles, organs, and blood cells (among many other tissues). Protein is also a crucial source of energy for the body. Supporting the integrity of these essential bodily organs enables us to engage in daily activities, such as exercise, which are essential for maintaining good health and preventing chronic illnesses like heart disease.

4. Nuts

In addition to the vitamins, minerals, plant components, fibre, and protein mentioned above, nuts (and seeds) also contribute beneficial fats to the diet. Nuts are a great source of heart-healthy unsaturated fats that support a healthy heart rhythm, lower inflammation throughout the body, and assist to lower cholesterol levels.

5. Fish

As an excellent source of lean protein, vitamins, minerals, and heart-healthy fats, eating more fish and shellfish has become a regular heart health prescription in recent years. Among other fatty fish, anchovies, mackerel, sardines, and salmon are particularly excellent suppliers of omega-3 fatty acids. They promote heart health by acting as anti-inflammatory agents in the body, which lower triglyceride levels, support healthy blood pressure levels, maintain regular heart rhythms, and support the flexibility of blood vessels.

6. Milk with Full-Fat

    Perhaps the presence of full-fat dairy is more of a wild card on this list. Many medical specialists have historically believed that some dairy, particularly full-fat types, is a cause of heart disease. This is primarily because it contains dietary cholesterol and saturated fat. However, research is beginning to show that the link between various forms of fat and heart disease may not be as strong as previously believed. This may contribute to the finding in this study that, when ingested in moderation, full-fat dairy is associated with improved heart health. Even more advantageous for heart health are fermented full-fat dairy products like kefir, yoghurt, some cottage cheeses, and farmer’s cheese. Some of the saturated fat in milk is converted to heart-healthy, unsaturated fats during the fermentation process used to make these products. According to study, replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats lowers our chance of developing heart disease whereas replacing saturated fats with diets high in carbohydrates does not.

    How Does This Affect You?
    So what’s the final word on this? Do you have to start consuming these six essential meals in the amounts that the study determined? If you adhere to the dietary guidelines these researchers discovered, are you certain to avoid heart disease?

    Simply put, no. Although many of the study’s findings are not particularly ground-breaking, it does offer important new insights into dietary treatments that may prevent heart disease (namely the addition of full-fat dairy). We’ve known for years that improving our diets to include more plant-based foods and fatty fish has positive effects on our heart health. Having said that, more proof is always appreciated when it comes to informing, empowering, and inspiring individuals to make heart-healthy dietary decisions.

    Simply put, no. Although many of the study’s findings are not particularly ground-breaking, it does offer important new insights into dietary treatments that may prevent heart disease (namely the addition of full-fat dairy). We’ve known for years that improving our diets to include more plant-based foods and fatty fish has positive effects on our heart health. Having said that, more proof is always appreciated when it comes to informing, empowering, and inspiring individuals to make heart-healthy dietary decisions.


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