Plant-based diets can improve your heart function, brain health

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In a new study, researchers found that people could improve their heart health and brain function by changing their diet.

They found 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, people can slow down heart failure (HF) and ultimately lower their risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

The research was conducted by a team at Boston University School of Medicine.

Heart failure (HF) affects over 6.5 million adults in the U.S. In addition to its detrimental effects on several organ systems, the presence of HF is associated with a higher risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

Similarly, changes in heart structure and function that precede the appearance of HF are associated with poor cognitive function and brain 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 HF.

In the study, the team analyzed data of 2,512 participants of the Framingham Heart Study.

They found the MIND diet could benefit the hearts’ left ventricular function which is responsible for pumping oxygenated blood throughout the body.

The MIND diet emphasizes consumption of berries and green leafy vegetables while limiting intakes of foods high in saturated fat and animal products.

The findings highlight the importance of adherence to the MIND diet for better heart health.

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

One author of the study is Vanessa Xanthakis, Ph.D., an assistant professor of medicine.

The study is published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

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