Published: 19th May 2020
Diet rich in fruits and vegetables may protect heart health: Study
Observational studies show that a healthy diet is linked to a reduced risk for CVD events, leading many to advocate for stronger public policy to promote healthy food choices
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables gave over a relatively short period of time was associated with significantly lower levels of markers for subclinical cardiac damage and strain in adults without preexisting cardiovascular disease (CVD), say researchers.
Observational studies show that a healthy diet is linked to a reduced risk for CVD events, leading many to advocate for stronger public policy to promote healthy food choices.
Critics, however, point to a dearth of evidence to support the hypothesis that adopting a healthy diet directly reduces CVD injury or is effective for the primary prevention of CVD.
For the findings, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in the US, studied data and stored serum specimens for 326 participants of the original DASH trial to compare the effects of diets rich in fruits and vegetables with a typical American diet in their effects on cardiac damage, cardiac strain, and inflammation in middle-aged adults without known preexisting CVD.
The DASH diet is a lifelong approach to healthy eating that's designed to help treat or prevent high blood pressure (hypertension).
The DASH diet plan was developed to lower blood pressure without medication in research sponsored by the US National Institutes of Health. It includes lots of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products.
The DASH diet also includes some fish, poultry and legumes, and encourages a small number of nuts and seeds a few times a weekThe study found that after eight weeks, participants in both the fruits and vegetables and the DASH diet groups had significantly lower concentrations of the biomarkers for subclinical cardiac damage and strain compared with the control group.
The authors hypothesize that dietary factors common to both the DASH and fruit-and-vegetable diets, such as higher amounts of potassium, magnesium, and fibre, may partly explain the observed effects. These findings strengthen recommendations for the DASH diet or increased consumption of fruits and vegetables as a means of optimising cardiovascular health, the researchers noted.