Protect your Heart by Eating to Decrease Inflammation


The articles on page one and four of this issue encourage you to follow a healthy dietary pattern to protect your cardiovascular health. A study published recently in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests diet’s impact on heart health is partly related to inflammation. In short: higher levels of inflammatory markers are associated with higher risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), and dietary choices can increase or decrease levels of these compounds in our bodies.

The study’s authors pointed to research in which intake of foods like green leafy vegetables, dark yellow vegetables, whole grains, fruits, tea, coffee, and fish were associated with lower levels of inflammatory markers, while red meat, processed meats, refined carbohydrates, and sweetened beverages were associated with higher pro-inflammatory markers. When participants’ diets were analyzed based on intake of these food groups, dietary patterns with higher inflammatory potential were associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

This study suggests cutting down on red and processed meats, added sugars, and other refined carbohydrates—and replacing these with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, tea/coffee, and seafood—may reduce inflammation in your body and therefore lower your risk for heart attack and stroke. This study only looked at women, but the general success of dietary changes in lowering CVD risk suggest the results likely apply to men as well.


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