Home Health Fruits and vegetables protect the heart after menopause (and beyond)

Fruits and vegetables protect the heart after menopause (and beyond)

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“PLANT-based”. Nutrition strongly linked to the consumption of plant foods. The more the research goes on, the more it turns out that this dietary model, regardless of caloric intake, represents a sort of modern “adaptation” of the dictates of the Mediterranean diet and therefore particularly beneficial for heart and arterial health. In this sense, the attention of scholars is also focused on the “Portfolio” diet, which involves the intake of a large variety of fruit and vegetables, a regular vegetable protein intake (in particular legumes, tofu or soy), fibers from oats, barley and similar as well as eggplants, apples, oranges and berries, pay attention to sterols (a kind of fat) of vegetable origin, fats from extra virgin olive oil and avocado, the inevitable nuts with other fruits shell.

Cardiovascular health

After other studies had shown the potential value of the diet Portfolio in reducing LDL cholesterol values, the bad one, and a positive influence on cardiovascular health, on Journal of American Heart Association comes a research that shows the advantages of this “plant-based” mode of nutrition on the risk of developing cardiovascular disease for postmenopausal women. To say it are the data of the study coordinated by Andrea J. Glenn e John Sievenpiper, from the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Medicine at the University of Toronto: those who consistently follow the Portfolio diet after the end of the fertile life are 11% less likely to develop any type of cardiovascular disease, 14% less likely to develop coronary heart disease and 17% less likely to develop heart failure, compared to those who tend to be less “assiduous” in food choices of this type. On the other hand, it must be said that no association was recorded between Portfolio diet, the onset of atrial fibrillation or stroke.

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Cause-effect relationship not explained

The research, which does not propose mechanisms capable of explaining a possible correlation (therefore a direct cause-effect relationship) but limits itself to highlighting the association, has examined over 123,000 women within the Women’s Health Initiative. The investigation follows one female population aged between 50 and 79 years, without cardiovascular disease at the time of entry into the study, followed on average for over 15 years. The data collected are exclusively self-reported and the scholars did not aim to propose dietary models but limited themselves to reporting the eating habits and the more or less complete adherence to the Portfolio diet model. Among the advice of the experts, who point out how this simple dietary intervention can represent an important opportunity in terms of population prevention, there is also that of progressively changing the diet, adding step by step typical foods of the Portfolio diet, up to design a daily nutritional path strongly based on the intake of specific plants.

Healthy foods to feel good

“Scientific research in nutrition is focusing a little too much on the components that we could call functional: a pinch of lycopene for the prostate, a handful of Omega-3 for the heart, a sprinkle of turmeric for cancer … and then it gets lost. in view of the fact that a healthy diet is certainly healthy for what it contains, God forbid, but above all for what it “moves” – he comments Andrea Ghiselli, president of Sisa (Italian Society of Food Science). It is inevitable that if I eat more protein from legumes, I find less space for meat. If I use dried fruit as a snack, I find less space for biscuits and so on ”. What matters, according to the expert, is having a varied diet that follows the rules of the Mediterranean diet. “Every now and then a Mediterranean diet is built at the table and given different names such as Portfolio (a range of basic elements), Dash (for hypertension), or planetary, but in reality it is a Mediterranean diet, which draws the vast majority of energy from vegetables, but which does not give up small quantities of animal products to fill the inevitable shortcomings of a vegetable-only diet – concludes Ghiselli ”.

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