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Diet High In Inflammatory Foods May Increase Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Chronic inflammation can damage the body in a number of ways, including playing a role in the buildup of plaque in the arteries that can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Previous research has found that diet can play a role in inflammation. According to a recent study, diets that are high in red and processed meat, sugary beverages, and refined grains may increase inflammation and the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Participants in the study included 210,145 participants who took part in the Nurses' Health Studies I and II. None had cardiovascular disease at the beginning of the study. Participants were followed for an average of 32 years.

Food frequency questionnaires were administered every 4 years to assess dietary intake. The inflammatory potential of diet was evaluated using a food-based empirical dietary inflammatory pattern (EDIP) score. The EDIP score is based on changes in the levels of several proinflammatory biomarkers caused by 39 predefined food groups. All incidences of cardiovascular disease were recorded.

Participants with the highest EDIP scores were found to have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those with the lowest EDIP scores. These findings held even after adjusting for other dietary quality factors. A higher EDIP score was also associated with higher levels of proinflammatory biomarkers.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Harvard T Chan School of Public Health. It was published online ahead of print on November 3, 2020 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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