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This is the diet that improves heart health at any age

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Plant-based diets remain the most popular and those that usually offer the most benefits to the human body. In Spain, where the Mediterranean diet as an example of plant-based dietit is relatively easy to ingest many of their characteristic foods: fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes or whole grains, among others.

Now, two new studies published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the official journal of the American Heart Association (AHA), wanted to go further and be even more specific in diet patterns. they called him “portfolio diet”and suggests that more nutritious plant-based foods will be heart-healthy at any age.

Currently the AHA Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations They propose to follow a generally healthy dietary pattern that will emphasize the consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and derivative products, lean poultry, skinless fish, nuts, legumes and vegetable oils. It is also recommended restrict the consumption of saturated fats, trans fats, sodium, red and processed meats, pastries, soft drinks and sugary drinks in general.

healthy diets

One of the new studies, led by Yuni Choi, a postdoctoral researcher in Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Monneapolis, tested whether take a plant-based diet long-termor a change from another type of diet to a plant-based diet starting in young adulthood will be associated with a lower cardiovascular risk in mid-life.

In previous research, they would have focused on individual nutrients or foods, but there are little data yet on the effects of a plant-based diet in general and especially the risk of long-term cardiovascular disease.

Choi and colleagues looked at the incidence of diet and heart disease in 4,916 adults between the ages of 18 and 30 of the Coronary artery risk development study in young adults (cardia). They included 2,509 black adults and 2,437 white adults, with 54.9% of the participants being women. Patients were followed from 1985-1986 to 2015-2016. During all this time, up to eight follow-up examinations were conducted, including analyzes, physical measurements, medical history review, and lifestyle evaluation.

They were not told at any point how they were to eat, and they were not informed about the count of their diets, thus, the researchers were able to collect unbiased data.

A diet ‘exam’

To evaluate the diets, we have the APDQS quality scoreclassification of the kosse on advantageous (fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains), foods adverse (chips, fatty red meat, salty snacks, pastries and soft drinks) and food neutral (potatoes, refined grains, lean meats and seafood). The classification is designed according to the positive, negative or neutral relationship between food and cardiovascular disease.

According to their findings, participants with the highest scores (consumers of more beneficial foods) were those who a plant-based, nutrient-dense diet.

According to the researchers, after 32 years of follow-up, some notable data were detected: the first of these was that 289 participants suffered from cardiovascular disease (heart or brain infarction, heart failure, angina pectoris or any arterial obstruction); the second, those who scored in the top 20% of the table (those who ate more nutrient-dense plant foods and less animal products) they were up to 52% less likely to have cardiovascular disease; and, lastly, that between 7 and 20 years of follow-up, when the patients were on average between 25 and 50 years old, those who improved the quality of their diet by including more plant-based foods were down to a 61% lower. risk of later developing cardiovascular disease.

The “portfolio diet”

The other work, by Simin Liu and colleagues at Brown University, tested whether diets that include a portfolio of plant-based foods, focusing on Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advice in the United States to lower LDL cholesterol reduced or “bad” cholesterol (known as portfolio diet in English), you will associate an lower risk of cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women.

The diet portfolio will include nuts, soy-based vegetable protein, legumes or tofu, viscous soluble fiber of oats, barley, okra, eggplant, oranges, apples and berries; plant sterols from fortified foods and monounsaturated fats from olive oil, canola or avocados. Likewise, this diet also gives advice restrict saturated fats and dietary cholesterol.

In previous studies, the high consumption of foods included in the portfolio diet would be related to a lowering LDL cholesterolcompared to traditional low-fat diets in clinical guidelines.

In this case, the study included 123,330 postmenopausal women who participated in the Women’s Health Initiativea long-term national study looking at risk factors, prevention and early detection of serious health conditions in postmenopausal women.

The study followed the participants from 1993-1998 to 2017. All were between the ages of 50 and 79, and did not have cardiovascular disease at the start of the study. Self-reported surveys were used to collect data on their eating frequency.

Benefits in women

According to the results of the study, women who followed a diet similar to the portfolio diet up to 11% lower risk of cardiovascular disease of any kind, a 14% lower risk of coronary heart disease and a 17% lower risk of heart failure. Furthermore, no association was found between the portfolio diet and the risk of stroke or the risk of arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation.

The researchers also found dose-response signs. In other words, a portfolio diet can be started gradually, by adding certain foods little by little, thus gaining benefits for heart health as more components of it are added.

In both cases, both in the previous study and in this one, the clear limitation is that these are observational studies: It is not possible to determine a causal effect between the diets studied and the benefits mentioned, but both groups of researchers believe that these are reliable and remarkable estimates of the diet-heart relationship.

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