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Heart-Healthy Hacks Veg Out For Heart Health!

HEART-HEALTHY HACKS VEG OUT FOR HEART HEALTH!

Research involving volunteers with cardiovascular disease found that heart disease can be dramatically improved—and even reversed—by a plant-based diet.1

The volunteers followed a diet free of fish, meat, dairy, processed foods that contained added oils, sugary foods and caffeine. Their diet instead contained mainly wholegrains, legumes, lentils, vegetables and fruit. Those who kept to the plant-based nutrition for an average of 3.7 years experienced a low rate of subsequent cardiac events; and 22% saw a complete reversal of their condition!

GO GREEN!

Higher consumption of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage, is associated with less extensive blood vessel disease in older women.2 Those women whose diet contained more cruciferous vegetables were found to have a lower chance of having extensive build-up of calcium in their aorta (the major artery). Calcification in this area is a key marker for structural blood vessel disease, so it’s good news if it’s clear.

MODERATION IN ALL THINGS

If your heart (or gut!) quails at the notion of cabbage and sprout-rich menus, it’s ok: even moderate changes that increase regular intake of fruit and veg will help. A study including more than 135,000 people across five continents has shown that a diet which includes a moderate intake of fat and fruits and vegetables, and avoidance of high carbohydrates, is associated with lower risk of death.3

What’s considered ‘moderate’? The lowest risk of death is in those people who consume three to four servings (or a total of 375 to 500 grams) of fruits, vegetables and legumes a day.

We know that many people took the opportunity of more time at home, furlough, or just the increased interest in health-promoting behaviours, to improve their diet during the pandemic. However, for a great number of people, the consumption of healthy foods such as vegetables and whole grains declined during this time.4

This research was presented at a Conference hosted online by the American Society for Nutrition. The researchers observed that:

“Undesirable changes in diet during the pandemic, particularly decreases in vegetables and whole grains, may contribute to weight gain, poor metabolic health, and subsequent higher risk of chronic disease.”

Another study presented at the same Conference found that a large percentage of those they surveyed had increased their consumption of unhealthy snacks, desserts and sugary drinks during the pandemic. The researchers observed that,

”These dietary changes may impact metabolic health, disease risk and self-management if continued long term.”

If you feel your good dietary habits have started to slip, now is the time to get busy in the kitchen, planning a healthier winter menu! Check out Emma’s recipe on the next page for inspiration.

PRUNE POSITIVE!

Brand new research suggests that eating prunes each day can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease among healthy, postmenopausal women. That’s not to say that it can’t do the same for other groups, but these are the people studied in this particular piece of research.5 Brilliant results achieved in the prune-eaters including raised levels of antioxidants and reduced levels of inflammation.

1 Esselstyn CB Jr., Gendy G, Doyle J, Golubic M, Roizen MF. A way to reverse CAD? J Fam Pract. 2014; 63: 356-364b
2 Blekkenhorst L et al. British Journal of Nutrition 2021; 125 (3): 337-345
3 Salim Y et al. The Lancet 2017; 390 (10107): 2037-2049
4 Nutrition 2021: American Society for Nutrition, held online June 7-10, 2021
5 Hong M.Y., et al. (2021) Journal of Medicinal Food. Published Online: 11 May 2021

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Heart-Healthy Hacks Veg Out For Heart Health!