Plant-based diets linked to better heart health: Harvard study
New research from the Harvard University in the US has found diets higher in foods known to contribute to chronic inflammation can increase a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, among other institutions, followed over 210,000 people across various studies dating back to 1984. Participants answered a survey every four years about their diet.
This new study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, focuses specifically on the pro- or anti-inflammatory potential of certain foods.
Pro-inflammatory foods, which increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, include processed and red meat, refined sugars and grains, fried foods, and sugary sodas.
Meanwhile, anti-inflammatory foods, with higher levels of anti-oxidants, include whole grains, tea, coffee, green leafy vegetables and yellow vegetables.
In the study, the authors noted how inflammation plays a major role in the development of heart disease.
"Our study is among the first to link a food-based dietary inflammatory index with long-term risk of cardiovascular disease,” Dr. Jun Li, lead author of the study and research scientist in the department of nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in a news release.