Study: A Whole-Food Plant-Based Diet May Reduce Cardiovascular Diseases Risk

According to a new study published in the journal Nutrients, those who follow a “whole-food plant-based” diet may have a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Cardiovascular diseases, according to the World Health Organization, “are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels” that include coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, peripheral arterial disease, rheumatic heart disease, congenital heart disease and deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.

“An effective lifestyle strategy to reduce cardiovascular diseases risk (CVD) factors is needed”, begins the study’s abstract. “We examined the effects of a whole-food plant-based (WFPB) lifestyle program on dietary intake and cardiovascular (CV) risk factors in 151 adults.”

Adherence was categorized into short-, medium- and long-term (6 months, a year and 5-10 years), for both genders separately. “Dietary intakes were assessed, fasting blood lipids and blood pressure (BP) were measured, and % participants reaching guideline recommended targets for LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides and BP in the primary CVD prevention was assessed.”

According to researchers, “There were no statistically significant differences in intakes of energy and most nutrients among participants (both genders), that were short-, medium- and long term in our program. Diet was mainly composed of unprocessed vegetables/fruits, whole grains, legumes, potatoes, and nuts/seeds.”

They continue: “LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, systolic and diastolic BP were within targets for: 93%, 97%, 88% and 95% participants, respectively. In females (vs. males), total- and HDL-cholesterol were higher (mean): 3.8 (SD 0.7) vs. 3.4 (SD 0.9), p = 0.002 and 1.5 (SD 0.3) vs. 1.1 (SD 0.2) mmol/L, p < 0.001), systolic BP was lower (113 (SD 11) vs. 120 (SD 10) mmHg, p = 0.001), while there was no difference in diastolic BP (71 (SD 9) vs. 72 (SD 8) mmHg, p = 0.143).”

More females vs. males “reached target triglycerides (99% vs. 91%, p = 0.021) and systolic BP (92% vs. 79%, p = 0.046), while similar females and males reached target LDL-cholesterol (94% vs. 91%, p = 0.500) and diastolic BP (93% vs. 100%, p = 0.107).”

The study concludes by stating that: “Participation in our WFPB lifestyle program is associated with favourable dietary intakes, safety markers, and CV risk factor profiles.”

For more information on this study, click here.

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