Plant-based diet may improve cardiac function, cognitive health

IANSUpdated: Sunday, February 28, 2021, 01:02 PM IST
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New York: Want to improve your cardiac function, cognitive health? Plant-based diets may help, say researchers. The study suggests that by eating more plant-based food such as berries and green leafy vegetables while limiting consumption of foods high in saturated fat and animal products, may slow down heart failure and ultimately lower risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

"Our findings highlight the importance of adherence to the MIND diet for a better cardiovascular health and further reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in the community," said researcher Vanessa Xanthakis, Assistant Professor at the Boston University.

Heart failure is associated with higher risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Similarly, changes in cardiac structure and function (cardiac remodelling) that precede the appearance of heart failure are associated with poor cognitive function and cerebral health.

The adoption of diets, such as the Mediterranean diet (MIND) and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), which are characterized by high intakes of plant-based foods are among lifestyle recommendations for the prevention of heart failure.

However, whether a dietary pattern that emphasizes foods thought to promote the maintenance of neurocognitive health also mitigates changes in cardiac structure and function (cardiac remodelling) has been unclear until now.

For the study, published in the journal British Journal of Nutrition, the research team evaluated the dietary and echocardiographic data of 2,512 participants.

The team compared their MIND diet score to measures of cardiac structure and function and observed that a dietary pattern that emphasizes foods thought to promote the maintenance of neurocognitive health also mitigates cardiac remodelling.

The researcher acknowledges that following a healthy diet may not always be easy or fit with today's busy schedules, people should make a concerted effort to adhere to healthy eating to help lower risk of disease and achieve better quality of life.

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