Study links plant foods with lower heart disease risk

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Eating a plant-centered diet during young adulthood is associated with a lower risk of heart disease in middle age

Two recent research studies published in the Journal of the American Heart Association report have shown that eating more nutritious, plant-based foods is heart-healthy at any age.

One study, titled “A Plant-Centered Diet and Risk of Incident Cardiovascular Disease during Young to Middle Adulthood”, evaluated whether long-term consumption of a plant-centered diet and a shift toward a plant-centered diet starting in young adulthood are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease in midlife.

“A nutritionally rich, plant-centered diet is beneficial for cardiovascular health. A plant-centered diet is not necessarily vegetarian,” researchers said.

In another study, “Relationship Between a Plant-Based Dietary Portfolio and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: Findings from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Prospective Cohort Study,” researchers, in collaboration with WHI investigators led by Simin Liu, MD, PhD, at Brown University, evaluated whether or not diets that included a dietary portfolio of plant-based foods with US Food and Drug Administration-approved health claims for lowering “bad” cholesterol levels (known as the “Portfolio Diet”) were associated with fewer cardiovascular disease events in a large group of postmenopausal women.

The researchers found that compared to women who followed the Portfolio Diet less frequently, those with the closest alignment were 11% less likely to develop any type of cardiovascular disease, 14% less likely to develop coronary heart disease and 17% less likely to develop heart failure.

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