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Healthy foods key to reducing heart disease risk

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People need to focus on healthy foods – not types of diet – to cut their risk of heart disease, researchers report. 

According to a new study from scientists at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, food that has low levels of salt, cholesterol, and saturated fat is key.

Researchers studied the effects of three different diets: one rich in carbohydrates, one that was protein-heavy and low-carb, and one that was rich in unsaturated fat.

Each diet had different macronutrient requirements, but all three offered huge cardiovascular health benefits.

The 150 participants had previously been diagnosed with elevated blood pressure but were not on any medication. They followed the diet for six weeks.

Following the study, the researchers found that individuals eating all three healthy diets experienced improvements in biomarkers related to inflammation and heart health.

Author Dr. Stephen Juraschek concluded that the results suggested it was not the type of diet, but rather the healthy food within the diet, that reduces the risk of developing heart disease.

“There are multiple debates about dietary carbs and fat, but the message from our data is clear: eating a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and high in fibre that is restricted in red meats, sugary beverages, and sweets, will not only improve cardiovascular risk factors, but also reduce direct injury to the heart,” he explained. “Hopefully, these findings will resonate with adults as they shop in grocery stores and with health practitioners providing counsel in clinics throughout the country.”

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