Plant-based Diet Best For Preventing Heart Failure

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Heart failure is a condition that is usually years in the making. It is a slow breakdown of muscle over time, likely caused by years of deficiency, that leaves the heart inefficient at pumping blood and drawing enough blood to supply to the body. Surprisingly, 6.5 million Americans, over the age of 20, suffer from this condition.

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Plant-based Diet Essential For Heart Health

Research from the American Heart Association found that a plant-based diet is best for reducing heart failure, even for those who don’t yet have any cardiac conditions.The findings were presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2017, which brought researchers and clinicians together to discuss the latest heart health science, according to a release.

Researchers looked at five different dietary plans to determine which cut heart failure risk the most: convenience foods (including fast food and pasta), plant-based foods, sweets, Southern (which included sweet beverages and fried foods) and alcohol/salads. People who consumed plant-based foods decreased their risk of heart failure by 42 percent, compared to those who ate fewer fruits and vegetables. Not surprisingly, the other plans weren't associated with improved health. This study showed that diet can be a preventative of heart failure, even for those who don’t already have cardiac concerns.

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Plant-based Diet Best Preventative For Heart Failure

"Eating a diet mostly of dark green leafy plants, fruits, beans, whole grains and fish, while limiting processed meats, saturated fats, trans fats, refined carbohydrates and foods high in added sugars is a heart-healthy lifestyle and may specifically help prevent heart failure if you don't already have it," study co-author Dr. Kyla Lara, an internal medicine specialist, said in a statement.

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Using data from a study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the team looked at data for 15,569 people who did not have coronary artery disease or heart failure. Then, researchers analyzed health records from 2007 to 2013, looked at diets as reported through questionnaires, assigned participants to one of the dietary plans and identified records of 300 hospital visits for heart failure.

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The Stricter You Are, The Better

Vegan and Mediterranean diets are best for reducing cancer and heart disease risk. In fact, those who are the most strict with their diet are likely to receive the most benefit. The results of the study were described like a stepladder, with the lowest risks for the vegans, then moving up for the lacto-vegetarians, then pescatarians, and finally, non-vegetarians. For those who don’t wish to be vegetarian, eating more meatless meals during the week is a good start.

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