Researchers Reveal Six Essential Foods to Combat Cardiovascular Disease Risk
Ottawa, 30 Aug (ONA) --- A study spearheaded by McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences researchers at the Population Research Health Institute (PHRI) has found that not eating enough of six key foods in combination is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in adults.
Consuming fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, fish and whole-fat dairy products is key to lowering the risk of CVD, including heart attacks and strokes. The study also found that a healthy diet can be achieved in various ways, such as including moderate amounts of whole grains or unprocessed meats.
Previous and similar research has focused on Western countries and diets that combined harmful, ultra-processed foods with nutrient-dense foods. This research was global in scope and focused on foods commonly considered to be healthy.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates nearly 18 million people died from CVD in 2019, representing 32 percent of all global deaths. Of these deaths, 85 percent were due to heart attacks and strokes. PHRI researchers and their global collaborators analyzed data from 245,000 people in 80 countries from multiple studies. The results were recently published in the European Heart Journal.
Researchers derived a diet score from PHRI’s ongoing, large-scale global Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study, then replicated that in five independent studies to measure health outcomes in different world regions and in people with and without prior CVD.
There is a recent increased focus on higher consumption of protective foods for disease prevention. Outside of larger amounts of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes, the researchers showed that moderation is key in the consumption of natural foods.
Moderate amounts of fish and whole-fat dairy are associated with a lower risk of CVD and mortality. The same health outcomes can be achieved with moderate consumption of grains and meats – as long as they are unrefined whole grains and unprocessed meats.