A new study by researchers at McMaster University suggests we can bolster our overall health – especially cardiac – if we just eat the right amount of 6 key foods. Their conclusion comes after a broad-based survey of regional diets…
Would you cut processed foods from your diet and spend the
money you save on more fresh fruits and veggies,
whole grains – and just a little fish?
What they did
According to an abstract of the McMaster study, The World Health Organization estimates nearly 18 million people died from cardiovascular disease (CVD) in 2019, representing 32 per cent of all global deaths. Of these deaths, 85 per cent were due to heart attacks and strokes. PHRI researchers and their global collaborators analyzed data from 245,000 people in 80 countries from multiple studies.
The researchers then derived a diet score from PHRI’s ongoing, large-scale global Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study, then replicated that in five independent studies to measure health outcomes in different world regions and in people with and without prior CVD.
“Previous diet scores — including the EAT-Lancet Planetary Diet and the Mediterranean Diet tested the relationship of diet to CVD and death mainly in Western countries. The PURE Healthy Diet Score included a good representation of high, middle, and low-income countries,” says Salim Yusuf, senior author and principal investigator of PURE.
What they found
“There is a recent increased focus on higher consumption of protective foods for disease prevention. Outside of larger amounts of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes, the researchers showed that moderation is key in the consumption of natural foods,” reports Dr. Andrew Mente, PHRI scientist and assistant professor at McMaster’s Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact. […] Moderate amounts of fish and whole-fat dairy are associated with a lower risk of CVD and mortality. The same health outcomes can be achieved with moderate consumption of grains and meats – as long as they are unrefined whole grains and unprocessed meats.”
“Moderate amounts of fish and whole-fat dairy are associated with a lower risk of CVD and mortality,” Mente concludes. “The same health outcomes can be achieved with moderate consumption of grains and meats – as long as they are unrefined whole grains and unprocessed meats.”
The PURE Healthy Diet Score recommends an average daily intake of: Fruits at two to three servings; vegetables at two to three servings; nuts at one serving; and dairy at two servings. The score also includes three to four weekly servings of legumes and two to three weekly servings of fish. Possible substitutes included whole grains at one serving daily, and unprocessed red meat or poultry at one serving daily.
Here we go again… Cutting edge science confirms what most of us have known all along: Common sense food choices are the healthiest. The new survey just gives us serving size recommendations. Which I’ll admit is helpful – to me, at least.
I was curious to see the conditional approval given to whole dairy products as part of the McMaster/PURE ‘heart healthy diet’. Researchers usually say to stay away from dairy, because of the fat.
On the other hand, I was pleased to see that the researchers concluded only a small amount of fish was necessary bolster heart health – within the Diet Score framework. I can afford that.
… Should you decide to accept it: Check your own diet and see how many and how much of the 6 Key Foods you currently consume. Does your diet need a tune-up? Would you cut out processed foods and spend the money you save on more fresh fruits and veggies, whole grain products and a little fish?
Muse on that…
~ Maggie J.