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Heart attack: Experts claim a vegan diet can 'help prevent' them

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A heart attack is a serious medical emergency whereby the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked, usually by a blood clot. There are two lesser-known lifestyle factors which could be increasing your risk of the fatal condition.

Vegetarian and vegan diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, partly due to their numerous health benefits, as well as concerns about the environment and animal welfare.

In the United Kingdom, both the representative National Diet and Nutrition Survey 2008-12 and a 2016 Ipsos MORI survey estimated about 1.7 million vegetarians and vegans living in the country.

Evidence suggests that vegetarians might have different disease risks compared with non-vegetarians.

A vegan diet has been found to be significantly associated with beneficial changes in cardiovascular disease risk factors, allied benefits indianapolis such as lower BMIs, serum total cholesterol levels, serum glucose levels, inflammation, and blood pressure, compared to omnivorous diets, which are typically lower in whole grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables.

Such positive cardiovascular health effects may result from lower intakes of dietary cholesterol, saturated fat, and red and processed meat, as well as higher intakes of fibre, plant protein, and phytonutrients.

In a study published in the European Society of Cardiology, the link between red meat consumption and heart attacks was investigated.

An observational study in nearly 20,000 individuals has found that greater intake of red and processed meat is associated with worse heart function.

“Previous studies have shown links between greater red meat consumption and increased risk of heart attacks or dying from heart disease,” said study author Dr Zahra Raisi-Estabragh of Queen Mary University of London, UK.

He added “For the first time, we examined the relationships between meat consumption and imaging measures of heart health.

“This may help us to understand the mechanisms underlying the previously observed connections with cardiovascular disease.”

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“The idea that a low-fat vegetarian or vegan diet could ‘reverse’ heart disease has been circulating for more than 20 years,” said British Heart Foundation nutritionist Victoria Taylor.

She continued: “This way of eating has become more popular in the last couple of years. It has lots of benefits, but the truth is more complex than headlines suggest.

“We know that changing your diet and lifestyle, as well as taking prescribed medications, will help slow the progression of coronary heart disease, but reversal is another matter.

“Evidence for a plant-based diet originated in the 1980s, in a very small study of 22 people.

“It found that four participants had a reversal of the disease in their arteries after following a very strict plant-based diet.”

Another surprising risk factor that could be increasing your risk of a heart attacks is air pollution.

Prolonged exposure to air pollution can be linked to an increased risk of stroke and coronary heart disease, even when levels are below the limits specified by the EU and WHO.

This was shown, among others, by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and Helmholtz Zentrum München in Germany in a large European study published in The Lancet Planetary Health.

“Our results indicate that the current air quality guidelines do not provide sufficient protection,” said Petter Ljungman, associate professor at the Institute of Environmental Medicine at Karolinska Institute and joint author of the study.

The study is a major European collaboration and involves more than 137,000 participants from six different cohorts in Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Germany that were followed for an average of 17 years.

The researchers investigated whether there is a link between stroke or acute coronary heart disease and prolonged exposure to fine particulate matter.

“We discovered a 10 percent increase in the risk of suffering a stroke for every increase of 5 micrograms per cubic metre of fine particulate matter in the air where you live,” said Annette Peters, Director at Director at the Institute for Epidemology at Helmholtz Zentrum München.

“Our study shows air pollution in urban areas is contributing to the risk of stroke even after adjustment for noise.”
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