More evidence that a plant-based diet protects heart health

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TWO recent observational studies looked at the cardiovascular health of people who incorporated more plant-based foods into their diets.

One study followed participants for 32 years and found that people with more plant-based diets had lower rates of heart disease.

The other study focused on women’s health and learned that women in the postmenopausal stage of life with more plant-centered diets also had a reduced risk of heart issues.

Incorporating more fresh whole foods into one’s diet is something medical professionals often promote. Eating natural foods rather than highly processed foods can have a plethora of health benefits.

Two new observational studies looked at the benefits of plant-centered diets. Both studies followed participants for more than a decade to track health and food choice trends.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been setting forth dietary guidelines for more than 100 years.

While the guidelines have changed over time, the USDA has long focused on eating foods that provide the nutrients needed to maintain good health.

Based on a 2,000-calorie daily diet, the USDA suggests people eat 2 cups of fruit, 2.5 cups of vegetables, 6 ounces (oz) of grains, 5.5 oz of protein foods, and 3 cups of dairy.

It also suggests that people vary their protein sources and explore eating meatless meals every so often.

The first new study, called “Plant-centered diet and risk of incident cardiovascular disease during young to middle adulthood,” appears in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The researchers in this study tracked almost 5,000 young adults who were aged 18–30 years when the study began. The study lasted for 32 years.

None of the participants had heart problems when the study started. At checkups over the years, doctors evaluated the participants’ health, asked about the foods they ate, and assigned them a diet quality score.

By the end of the study, nearly 300 people developed cardiovascular disease. Moreover, after adjusting for various factor, including race, sex, and educational attainment, the researchers also found that people with the most plant-based diets and a higher diet quality score were 52% less likely to develop heart issues.

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