Study Finds Cardiovascular Risk Factors Fluctuate With Diet
When it comes to heart health, what you’re eating is extremely important. A recent study suggests that cardiovascular risk factors track closely with a person’s current diet, and with changes in eating patterns.
For this study, researchers examined data from two previous studies. In one, participants followed the DASH-diet, which focuses on reducing sodium for heart health. In the other, participants followed the Mediterranean diet, which focuses on healthy fats. Both diets were rich in vegetables, whole grains, and fruits.
In both studies, the participants followed their intervention diet for five or six weeks, after which their cardiovascular risk factors were assessed, including blood pressure, fasting serum lipids, glucose, and insulin. They then went back to their regular diets for four weeks and had their risk factors assessed a second time. Finally, they returned to the healthy diet for five or six weeks and had their risk factors assessed a last time.
At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted that the participants’ cardiovascular risk factors were significantly higher when they were following their own diets and significantly lower when they were following the healthy diets. They also noted that the risk factors lowered quickly once people started following a healthy diet. Lower blood pressure and cholesterol were seen within a few weeks of healthy eating.
Researchers from Purdue University led the study. It was published on November 10, 2018, in Nutrients.
The DASH diet is high in nuts and legumes, low-fat dairy, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables and low in red and processed meat, sugar-sweetened drinks, and sodium.
The Mediterranean diet is characterized by high amounts of vegetables, legumes, cereals, fish, fruits and nuts, healthy mono-saturated fats such as olive oil, low amounts of saturated fats, moderate alcohol intake, and low intake of meat and dairy products.