The portfolio diet is a heart-healthy choice, study finds

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New research suggests that a lesser-known eating plan called the “portfolio diet” can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Heart disease is a leading cause of illness and death worldwide, so finding effective ways to lower the risk is crucial.

The portfolio diet is designed to improve heart health by lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol, a major factor in heart disease. This diet includes specific foods that can help protect your heart.

What is the Portfolio Diet?

The portfolio diet is a way of eating that focuses on plant-based foods and includes:

Plant-Based Proteins: It includes foods like soy and legumes (beans, lentils, and peas). These foods are rich in protein and can be a great alternative to meat.

Foods with Viscous Fiber: Oats, barley, berries, apples, and citrus fruits are part of this diet. They contain a special type of fiber that can help lower cholesterol levels.

Nuts and Seeds: These are packed with healthy fats and other nutrients that are good for your heart.

Phytosterols: These are compounds that can reduce the absorption of cholesterol. You can find them in fortified foods or supplements.

Healthy Fats: The diet includes foods like avocado and plant-based oils high in monounsaturated fats. These fats are good for your heart.

Research Findings

Dr. Andrea Glenn, a registered dietitian and postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, led a study on the portfolio diet.

Her team examined data from over 200,000 people who participated in long-term health studies.

These people didn’t have heart disease when they joined the studies in the 1980s and 1990s. They completed food questionnaires every four years.

The researchers used something called the “portfolio diet score” to see how well participants followed the diet.

After up to 30 years of tracking, they found that those who followed the portfolio diet most closely had a 14% lower risk of heart disease and stroke compared to those who didn’t follow it as closely.

This is an important discovery because it shows that the portfolio diet can reduce the risk of heart problems when followed over a long time.

Why is This Important?

Heart disease and stroke are serious health issues that affect many people worldwide. Lowering cholesterol levels, especially LDL cholesterol, can reduce the risk of heart problems. The portfolio diet offers a natural and healthy way to achieve this goal.

Dr. Kristina Petersen, an associate professor of nutritional sciences at Penn State, has studied how diets can impact heart health. She found that diets like the Mediterranean and DASH diets are beneficial for heart health.

The portfolio diet shares similarities with these diets as they all promote whole grains, fruits, vegetables, plant protein, nuts, and plant oils.

However, the portfolio diet is more focused on plant-based foods and encourages reducing animal proteins.

The portfolio diet is a good choice for those who want a heart-healthy diet, especially if they prefer vegan or vegetarian options.

You don’t have to follow it strictly to see benefits. Even making a few small changes in your diet can improve your heart health.


In summary, the portfolio diet is a lesser-known but effective way to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.

By incorporating plant-based proteins, fiber-rich foods, nuts, phytosterols, and healthy fats into your diet, you can take significant steps towards improving your heart health.

While it may not be as well-known as some other diets, its potential benefits are substantial.

It’s a flexible approach that allows you to make gradual changes for a healthier heart. In the quest for a heart-healthy lifestyle, the portfolio diet is a promising option to consider.

If you care about heart health, please read studies that vitamin K helps cut heart disease risk by a third, and a year of exercise reversed worrisome heart failure.

For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about supplements that could help prevent heart disease, stroke, and results showing this food ingredient may strongly increase heart disease death risk.

The research findings can be found in the journal Circulation.

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