What should I eat to prevent heart disease?

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Plant-based foods should dominate heart-healthy diets, according to a paper published today in Cardiovascular research, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). This thorough review of food and heart disease research provides up-to-date evidence on how much and how often each item can be safely consumed.

“There is no indication that it has any it is poison in terms of cardiovascular risk. It’s a matter of quantity and frequency of consumption, “said the study’s author, Professor Gabriele Riccardi, of the University of Naples Federico II, Italy.” One mistake we made in the past was to consider a dietary component the enemy and the only thing we had to change. Instead, we need to consider diets as a whole, and if we reduce the amount of a food, it’s important to choose a substitute. “

In general, there is consistent evidence that for healthy adults, low consumption of salt and foods of animal origin and increased intake of plant-based foods, including , fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts: are associated with a reduced risk of atherosclerosis. The same applies to the substitution of butter and others with non-tropical vegetable fats such as olive oil.

The new tests differentiate processed and —Both associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease— of poultry, which shows no relationship with moderate intakes (up to three servings of 100 g per week). Red meat (e.g., beef, pork, lamb) should be limited to two 100 ga portions per week and processed meat (e.g., bacon, sausages, salami) to occasional use.

Legumes (up to four servings of 180 g a week) are the recommended protein substitute for red meat. Moderate consumption of fish (two to four servings of 150 g per week) is also supported by the latest tests on heart disease prevention, although there may be sustainability issues. Poultry may be a suitable protein alternative to red meat, but in moderate amounts.

As for fruits and vegetables, given their strong association with a lower risk of atherosclerosis, daily consumption should be increased to 400 g each. Regarding nuts, a handful (about 30 g) a day is recommended.

For the healthy population, recent evidence does not support the requirement to use a low-fat instead of a full-fat diet. to prevent heart disease. Rather, both low-fat and low-fat dairy products, in moderate amounts and in the context of a balanced diet, are not associated with an increased risk.

“Small amounts of cheese (three servings of 50 g a week) and regular consumption of yogurt (200 g a day) are even related to a protective effect due to fermentation,” said Professor Riccardi. “We now understand that intestinal bacteria play an important role in influencing cardiovascular risk. Fermented dairy products contain good health-promoting bacteria.”

As for cereals, new tips are given according to the glycemic index (GI), where foods with high GI increase blood sugar faster than foods with low GI. Foods rich in GI (ie , ) are associated with a high risk of atherosclerosis; therefore, consumption should be limited to two servings a week and otherwise should be replaced by whole grain foods (i.e. bread, rice, oats, barley) and low GI foods. (i.e. pasta, cooked rice, corn tortilla).

When it comes to drinks, coffee and tea (up to three cups daily) are associated with reduced cardiovascular risk. Soft drinks, including low-calorie options, are associated with a higher risk and should be replaced with water except on limited occasions. Moderate alcohol consumption (wine: up to two glasses a day in men and a glass in women; or a can of beer) is associated with a lower risk of compared to higher amounts or abstinence. But Professor Riccardi said: “Given the overall impact of alcohol on health, this evidence should be interpreted as the maximum allowable intake rather than a recommended amount.”

As for chocolate, the available tests allow for up to 10 g of dark chocolate a day. The authors state that “for this amount of consumption, the beneficial effects outweigh the risk of weight gain and its detrimental consequences related to cardiovascular health.”

Professor Riccardi noted that food should be enjoyable to motivate healthy people to make long-term changes. He said: “We need to rediscover culinary traditions such as the Mediterranean diet which has delicious recipes with beans, whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables.”

The authors concluded: “A strategy based exclusively on guidelines and nutritional education will not be enough to change the lifestyle of the population; the policy options that must necessarily be considered should include initiatives to facilitate production, the marketing, availability and affordability of foods that are not only healthy but also gastronomically attractive. ”


Starchy snacks may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease; fruits and vegetables at certain meals decreases the risk


More information:
Gabriele Riccardi et al, Dietary recommendations for the prevention of atherosclerosis, Cardiovascular research (2021). DOI: 10.1093 / cvr / cvab173

Citation: What should I eat to prevent heart disease? (2021, July 7), retrieved July 7, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-07-heart-disease.html

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