Eating This Diet Can Reduce Heart Disease Risk In Postmenopausal Women

Eating This Diet Can Reduce Heart Disease Risk In Postmenopausal Women

A new study has found that eating a diet rich in plant-based foods can work well for postmenopausal women. Read on to know how it works.

According to a study published in the Journal of American Heart Association, eating plant-based food is heart-healthy at any age. Researchers discovered that when postmenopausal women ate more healthy plant foods, they had fewer heart attacks and were less likely to acquire cardiovascular diseases. They specifically looked at how the ‘portfolio diet’ affected postmenopausal women.

Typically, the Portfolio Diet, developed by Canadian researcher David J. Jenkins in 2003 to lower blood cholesterol, is a therapeutic vegan diet. To increase this impact, this diet promotes the use of a portfolio of foods or food components that have been linked to cholesterol reduction. Majorly, this diet includes nuts; plant protein from soy, beans, or tofu; viscous soluble fibre from oats, barley, okra, eggplant, oranges, apples, and berries; plant sterols from fortified foods; monounsaturated fats from olive and canola oil, and avocadoes; and a low-fat diet.

The Findings

For the study titled “Relationship Between a Plant-Based Dietary Portfolio and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: Findings from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Prospective Cohort Study,” researchers evaluated whether diets that included a dietary portfolio of plant-based foods with US Food and Drug Administration-approved health claims for lowering “bad” cholesterol levels (known as the “Portfolio Diet”) in a large group of postmenopausal women were associated with fewer cardiovascular disease events in collaboration with WHI investigators led by Simin Liu, M.D., PhD, at Brown University.

For the study, the team looked at whether postmenopausal women who followed the Portfolio Diet had fewer heart attacks. The Women’s Health Initiative, a long-term national study looking at risk factors, prevention, and early identification of significant health issues in postmenopausal women, comprised 123,330 women from the United States. The study group was followed for approximately 15 years.

How Portfolio Diet Helps Postmenopausal Women

The researchers found women who followed the Portfolio diet stringently were 11 per cent less likely to develop any sort of cardiovascular diseases, 14 per cent less likely to develop coronary heart disease, and 17 per cent less likely to develop heart failure as compared to women who followed the Portfolio diet less frequently. However, there was no association between this type of diet and the occurrence of stroke or atrial fibrillation.

John Sievenpiper, M.D., PhD, senior author of the study at St. Michael’s Hospital, a site of Unity Health Toronto in Ontario, Canada, and associate professor of nutritional sciences and medicine at the University of Toronto says, “These results present an important opportunity, as there is still room for people to incorporate more cholesterol-lowering plant foods into their diets. With even greater adherence to the Portfolio dietary pattern, one would expect an association with even fewer cardiovascular events, perhaps as much as cholesterol-lowering medications. Still, an 11 per cent reduction is clinically meaningful and would meet anyone’s minimum threshold for a benefit. The results indicate the Portfolio Diet yields heart-health benefits.”

As per the study results, adding a small dose of the Portfolio diet can also yield heart health benefits. Although the study was observational and could not directly show a cause-and-effect relationship between diet and cardiovascular events, researchers believe that because of the design of the study, it provides the most trustworthy estimate of the food-heart relationship to date.

This post first appeared on The Health Site

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