Almost 50 percent of all premature cardiovascular disease deaths could be prevented by better nutrition
04/24/2019 // Edsel Cook // Views

People could cut their risk of dying early due to cardiovascular disease by up to half if they ate more nutritious food, announced a recently published study. The research went on to recommend increasing the amount of whole grains and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids in a diet in order to live longer and healthier lives.

The study evaluated the effect of diets on cardiovascular deaths over the past 26 years. Particular attention was directed at the period of time spanning from 2010 to 2016.

Researchers from the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) led the German-American effort to determine how changes in diet affected the risk of premature death caused by cardiovascular disease. For Western Europe, they found that the death rate dropped as the amount of healthy foods in the diet increased.

Fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and whole grains were some of the healthy foods identified as having helped reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease. Omega-3 fatty acids also played a considerable role in increasing the lifespan of people who followed good diets.

Avoiding processed meat and sodium decreases the risk of cardiovascular diseases

Earlier research determined that diet and metabolism influenced the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The MLU-overseen study broke new ground with its corresponding evaluation of countries. It also separated groups by age and sex, and further differentiated between certain groups of important foods and nutrients.

The researchers drew their information from the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD). A massive long-term survey that started in 1990 and ended in 2016, the GBD covered the 51 countries in Europe and a number of states in Central Asia and the Middle East.


Based on this vast amount of data, the researchers studied the propensity for heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular diseases in those countries. They also figured out the percentage of deaths that stemmed from an imbalanced diet.

In a paper published in the European Journal of Epidemiology, they reported that diets with low amounts of whole grains, nuts and seeds, fruits, and seafood omega-3 PUFAs appeared to be associated with cardiovascular disease. Diets with high levels of processed meat and sodium were also considered to increase the chance of premature death from a heart disease or vascular disease.

Avoid early death by eating more fruits, nuts, seafood, and whole grains

Based on their findings, the researchers asserted that changes in dietary patterns led to associated changes in the risk of heart and vascular diseases. Furthermore, the countries and regions followed different diets, which led to different results.

In Eastern Europe, increased consumption of fruits, PUFAs, and omega-3 fatty acids led to improvements in cardiovascular health. But in Central Europe and Central Asia, it was the combination of lower sodium levels and greater amounts of fruits and vegetables that contributed to healthier hearts and blood vessels.

Cardiovascular diseases are responsible for the most number of human deaths on a global scale every year. The GBD results for 2016 showed that more than 9.1 million premature deaths from these diseases around the world are caused by unhealthy diets. These diet-related deaths make up slightly more than half of all related early deaths in that year alone.

On the bright side, the researchers said that the average number of diet-related deaths caused by cardiovascular diseases decreased over the course of the 26-year-long GBD study. The U.K., the Netherlands, and Serbia displayed the biggest decreases from 2010 to 2016, suggesting that switching to healthier diets could extend the lifespans of people by improving their heart and vascular health.

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