A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fish can reduce the heart failure risk by 41 per cent, whereas sticking to a regular diet rich in fats, fried foods, processed meat and sugary drinks can raise the risk of this condition, finds a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
As part of the study, more than 107 food items, including vegetables, fruits, processed food, fried food, fast food and alcohol was divided into five dietary pattern groups. The association of these dietary patterns with the risk of heart failure among people without any known history of heart disease was analysed for more than eight years.
Around 363 of all the participants were brought to the hospital with heart failure for the first time. It was found that the dietary pattern called as Southern diet that comprised of a significant amount of fried foods, processed meat, eggs, added fats and sugary drinks increased the risk of hospitalisation due to heart failure by 72 per cent.
It was also found that such diets increased the risk of hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes mellitus, atrial fibrillation and chronic kidney disease with an increase in body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference. The researchers suggested that Southern diet raises heart failure risk by increasing obesity and abdominal fat.
On the other hand, the study findings stated that the risk of heart failure hospitalisation was about 41 per cent lower among people who followed a plant-based diet comprising of vegetables, fruit, beans and fish.
The researcher of the study Dr Kyla Lara said, “Adherence to a plant-based dietary pattern was inversely associated with incident of heart failure risk, whereas the Southern dietary pattern was positively associated with incident heart failure risk.”
A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, nuts and fish is considered beneficial for the heart. “Consumption of fruits and vegetables with vitamins A (beta-carotene), C and E, minerals and folic acid helps in bringing down the blood levels of homo cysteine, a substance that considered a high risk to cause coronary heart diseases. Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, which is beneficial for the heart,” said Dr M Udaya Kumar, medical director at Portea Medical.
“These fatty acids help in reducing triglycerides, blood pressure and blood clotting and diminish the risk of stroke and heart failure as well as irregular heartbeats. Hence, a healthy and balanced diet is highly recommended to ensure better heart health, more so in today’s stressful environment and in those with a family history of heart problems,” added Dr Udaya Kumar.