Recommendations for Eating towards Heart Health
September 17, 2020
While the world keeps the day of 29th September close to their hearts – South Africa has dedicated the entire month of September towards the awareness of Heart Health. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa, heart disease and stroke are South Africa’s biggest killers after HIV/AIDS, and more South Africans die of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) than all cancers combined. If it takes you an hour to consider all of the information shared to you in this moment, 5 South Africans would have suffered from a heart attack during the same time period. The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa, Cardiovascular disease statistic reference document, … Continue reading
Eating your way towards Heart Health
Up to 80% of the premature deaths related to CVD in individuals under the age of 65 years are preventable through dietary modifications and a healthy lifestyle. The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa, Cardiovascular disease statistic reference document, … Continue reading
All international guidelines recommend dietary changes as initial, fundamental and continuous treatment for heart health. The optimal diet is low in sodium (< 2.3 g/d) and high in whole plant foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Research shows that a whole food plant based diet, or even a slight reduction in meat consumption, can significantly reduce blood pressure. This dietary modification can also decrease, prevent or eliminate, the need for medication Physicians Association for Nutrition International, Fact Sheets, Coronary Heart Disease & Hypertension, 2020 https://pan-int.org/resources/factsheets/
- 15.0% vs. 5.8% hypertension prevalence in male meat eaters vs. vegans
- 11.3 mmHg systolic blood pressure reduction among hypertensive patients by following the DASH diet compared to a control diet
- 72% risk reduction for cardiac death and heart attack when following a Mediterranean diet compared to a Western diet
- 32% lower risk of Coronary Heart Disease (leads to heart attack) development in vegetarians compared to non-vegetarians (EPIC-Oxford study)
- 33% risk reduction for myocardial infarction (heart attack) in prospective studies comparing highest diet adherence to a Mediterranean diet with the lowest category
A plant focussed diet
A powerful tool in preventing and reversing heart disease is the implementation of a whole food plant based diet. Some research refers to the DASH diet, which is high in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products, and low in red and processed meat as well as in sugar-sweetened foods and beverages. Other sources may mention the Mediterranean Diet, which yields higher adherence scores for those who increase their servings of fruits and vegetables, while limiting their red meat consumption.
Evidence Based Recommendations
- Maximize the intake of high-quality plant foods such as vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices; your health will benefit from every step towards more whole plant foods.
- Eliminate or limit all processed foods, refined carbohydrates, and sugar-sweetened foods and beverages.
- Eliminate or limit red and processed meat products (such as burgers, sausages, bacon, ham, salami, dried meat, canned meat, and pastrami).
- Eliminate or limit other animal products such as poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, and dairy.
- Make sure to cover potentially critical nutrients with a wide variety of plant foods, enriched foods/drinks, or supplements (especially vitamin B12 and vitamin D)
- Limit sodium intake
- Always go for whole grain foods to increase your fiber intake. The fiber in whole grain bread and pasta, quinoa,
- Fight chronic inflammation –a very important puzzle piece in the development of CHD –with powerful antioxidants in berries, cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli) and dark green leafy vegetables
Veggie Challenge App
With every diet – whether vegetarian, vegan, or non-veggie – good planning is essential to avoid nutritional deficiencies. Optimal vegan nutrition is ensured by eating a balanced and varied diet without losing sight of critical nutrients. Learn more about balancing your plate on our website over here.
Our Veggie Challenge App is making it easier than ever to plan and create healthy meals. This challenge is suitable for anybody who wishes to learn more about and benefit from a plant based diet, or simply reducing meat consumption. With this app, you can:
– Find more than 100 delicious plant-based recipes
– Utilise an easy to use menu planner
– Explore a one-button-shopping-list generator (tick off items as you shop) and much more!
|↑1, ↑2||The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa, Cardiovascular disease statistic reference document, http://www.heartfoundation.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/CVD-Stats-Reference-Document-2016-FOR-MEDIA-1.pdf|
|↑3||Physicians Association for Nutrition International, Fact Sheets, Coronary Heart Disease & Hypertension, 2020 https://pan-int.org/resources/factsheets/|