According to the World Health OrganizationTrusted Source (WHO), heart and circulatory diseases now cause one in three deaths globally, amounting to 17.9 million.
Many types of cardiovascular disease (CVD) are preventable, with changes in lifestyle being one of the most effective ways to reduce one’s risk. The WHO recommends trusted source: stopping smoking reducing salt and increasing fruit and vegetables in your diet regular physical activity avoiding harmful use of alcohol. However, there is so much conflicting advice available that people can find it hard to decide which diet to follow.
A new study, from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) at Harvard Medical School, suggests that changing to the DASH diet or a diet high in fruit and vegetables could reduce a person’s risk of CVD by up to 10%. The study appears in The American Journal of Cardiology. The DASHTrusted Source short for “dietary approaches to stop hypertension” eating plan is based on modifying eating habits to reduce blood pressure by:eating vegetables, fruits, and whole grains including fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils limiting foods high saturated fat foods, such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, and coconut, palm kernel, and palm oils limiting sugary beverages and sweets.
It is designedTrusted Source to be easy to follow, provide healthful alternatives to junk foods, and be adaptable to any cultural heritage. In the study, researchers divided the 437 participants randomly into three groups. After 3 weeks on a typical American diet little fresh produce, high total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol — each group then followed a different diet for 8 weeks. The participants had a mean age of 45, and roughly half were black and half women. The three groups were well-matched for BMI, hypertension status, and physical exercise.
People in the control group continued on the original diet. The second group ate a similar diet, but with added fruit and vegetables. The third group followed the DASH diet.
Following the 8-week diet period, the researchers calculated the participants’ atherosclerotic CVD (ASCVD) risk using the Pooled Cohort Equation.