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Diet Rich in Fruits and Vegetables May Lower Risk of Death From Cardiovascular Disease

The Western-style diet is characterized by high intakes of high-fat foods, high-sugar desserts, and drinks, as well as high intakes of red meat, refined grains, and high-fat dairy products. A recent study has found that a Western-style diet may increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, while a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk.

Participants in the study included 21,503 adults who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. 24-hour recall questionnaires were used to identify meal patterns and snack patterns. Participants were followed for an average of 7 years and all incidences of cardiovascular disease and death were recorded.

Participants who consumed a fruit-based breakfast were found to have a 34% reduced risk of death by cardiovascular disease. Those who consumed a vegetable-based dinner were found to have a 23% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and a 31% reduced risk of death due to cardiovascular disease.

Participants who ate a typical Western diet lunch consisting of refined grains, cheese, and cured meat were found to have a 44% increased risk of death by cardiovascular disease. Those who consumed snacks that were high in starch had 44-57% increased risk of death due to cardiovascular disease. Participants who consumed dairy-based snacks after dinner had a lower risk of death due to cardiovascular disease.

The study was conducted by researchers from Harbin Medical University. It was published online ahead of print on June 23, 2021, in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

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