A modern, international diet may be just what you need for optimal heart health and longevity.
Many studies suggest that a diet that avoids red meat and dairy but is rich in fruit, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains is the best for heart health.
However, new research suggests that we should amend these guidelines.
The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study — which was led by Prof. Salim Yusuf, the director of the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada — suggests that the results of these traditional studies may be biased and outdated.
Specifically, explain the researchers, such studies are based on the dietary habits of high-income countries and rely on data from decades ago. For these reasons, the new study aimed to make a more comprehensive analysis of people’s dietary patterns across the world.
Its findings were presented at the 2018 annual conference of the European Society of Cardiology, held in Munich, Germany.
The researchers have also published their results in the journal The Lancet.
For the PURE study, Prof. Yusuf and colleagues examined the link between diet and heart health in almost 140,000 healthy people, aged 35–70, who were clinically followed for over 9 years.
During this period, 6,821 people died of a cardiovascular disease and 5,466 experienced major cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke, and heart failure.
The quality of the participants’ diets was assessed using a food score. To develop the score, the researchers included foods that previous studies suggested might lower the risk of premature death, such as: fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes, fish, dairy products, and meat.
PHRI’s Andrew Mente, the study’s co-principal investigator, summarizes the findings. “People who consumed a diet emphasizing fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes, fish, dairy products, and meat had the lowest risks of cardiovascular disease and early death,” he says.
“Regarding meat, we found that unprocessed meat is associated with benefit.”
Specifically, compared with people who scored the lowest on the quality of their diet, those with the highest quality score were 11 percent less likely to experience a major cardiovascular event, 17 percent less likely to have a stroke, and 25 percent less likely to die of any cause.
Additionally, the findings suggest that the intake of refined carbs should be limited, but that dairy and unprocessed red meat may be healthful.
|Source: Dairy and meat ‘beneficial for heart health and longevity’|