Nutrition and heart health: The latest review


A new literature review suggests refined dietary guidelines for the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

The paper emphasizes pleasure, education, and sustainability as key factors in long-term dietary success.

It is worth noting that funding sources and author affiliations present conflicts of interest.
In a recent article, researchers explored the findings of past studies into heart-healthy eating.

Using keyword searches of PubMed, a database of biomedical articles, the authors sought to extract high-level insights from existing research.

They present their conclusions in a new article in the European Society of Cardiology’s journal Cardiovascular Research.

Before we outline the findings, it is important to mention that the authors disclose conflicts of interest.

They explain that funding came from the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition, a think tank created by pasta giant Barilla.

This organization endorses the Mediterranean diet — an endorsement shared by the research team.

While a person’s diet isn’t the only factor influencing CVD, it is the single most significant contributor, the researchers observe.

“Food choices are the most important factors undermining health and well-being, accounting for as much as almost 50% of all CVD deaths,” they note in their paper.

“Other lifestyle-related factors, such as smoking and low physical activity, as well as the individual’s genetic background, can modify [cardiovascular] risk and may also modulate the impact of diet on atherosclerosis; however, to review the role of these factors remains beyond the scope of this article.”

Atherosclerosis is a buildup of fatty plaques on the walls of arteries. Over time, as the plaques accumulate, they narrow the blood vessels.

Atherosclerosis is the underlying cause of around 50%Trusted Source of all deaths in Westernized nations.

The current research is part of a broader effort toward a revamped food pyramid to prevent CVD.

Some of the paper’s conclusions align with typical dietary advice. For instance, the researchers found that consuming more plant-based foods and avoiding refined cereals and starchy foods can lead to better heart health than consuming predominantly animal-based foods. But the paper also drew some less obvious conclusions.

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