A new study, conducted by researchers from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in Boston, US, suggests that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables for just 8 weeks may improve heart health.
In total, 326 individuals whose mean age was 45.2 years old took part in the study. Each of the participants followed the DASH diet, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and a “typical American diet”. After 8 weeks, the researchers assessed the levels of three biomarkers linked to heart health in samples of serum, collected from the participants.
The serum test results showed that people who followed either the DASH diet or another diet rich in fruits and vegetables had significantly lower concentrations of troponin and pro–B-type natriuretic peptide compared to their peers who stick to the typical American diet.
The authors write in their paper: “Our study suggests that dietary features common to both the DASH and fruit-and-vegetable diets, including but not limited to higher potassium, magnesium, and fiber content, may be causative factors.”
According to a recent study, published in The Journal of Physiology, exercising four to five times per week may help stop the main arteries to the heart from stiffening up.
The researchers from the US have found that those who exercise four to five times per week had healthier large central arteries and healthier middle-sized ones.
Lead author of the study Dr. Benjamin Levine of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine in Dallas, USA, explains: “This work is really exciting because it enables us to develop exercise programs to keep the heart youthful and even turn back time on older hearts and blood vessels.”
Heart disease and stroke are very dangerous conditions and now more young people are being affected according to the third National Health And Morbidity Survey.
Unhealthy diet, rich in saturated/trans-fat, lack of fibre, excessive salt intake combined with the lack of activity increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
1. Follow the guiding principles of balance, moderation and variety
Eat all foods from the various groups of the food pyramid in moderate portions and choose from a variety of food items within each food group.
2. Eat more fiber
Fibre helps improve blood cholesterol levels, stabilise blood glucose levels, maintain healthy weight and lower the risk of CVD risk factors.
3. Be physically active
Physical activity, especially aerobic exercises, helps to strengthen the heart muscles, reduce stress levels, improve metabolism and increase the level of HDL cholesterol.
4. Keep a healthy body weight
Maintaining a healthy weight or reducing extra weight can significantly reduce the risk of CVD and its risk factors.
5. Screen for risk factors regularly
Every year you should check for blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose level.
6. Reduce stress and get enough rest
Stress is able to increase blood pressure. Try to have a eigh hours sleep and relax during the day.
7. Stop smoking if you do
Those who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day double their risk of heart attack compared to non-smokers.
Smokers who quit start to improve their heart health and reduce their risk for CVD immediately.
The researchers used green plant material of spinach to grow samples of tissue, as cellulose from plants is great material to use due to its compatibleness with living tissues, low price, and availability. To access the fine vascular structure of spinach, the scientists circulated a detergent solution through the leaves to wash the plant cells away. Then they seeded the leaf vascular structure with heart muscle cells, and within a few days, they saw that the heart cells started contract like they would in human tissue.
The scientists explain in their paper: “Plants and animals exploit fundamentally different approaches to transporting fluids, chemicals, and macromolecules, yet there are surprising similarities in their vascular network structure.”
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