[Mise à jour du 20/07/2021]
Heart disease: opting for whole grains would reduce the risk
Posted on July 13, 2021 in Journal of Nutrition, a new American scientific study examined how the consumption of whole grains impacts five risk factors for heart disease. These are waist circumference, blood pressure, blood triglyceride levels and HDL cholesterol, or “good” cholesterol.
Using a large database created in the 1970s, the researchers were able to analyze the health data of 3,100 participants, most of whom were Caucasian, and in their 50s at the start of data collection.
Scientists then found that participants who ate three or more servings of whole grains per day had smaller increases in waist circumference, blood pressure and blood sugar over time compared to those who ate less. half a portion per day.
Remember that all cereals and cereal products can be found both in their refined, “white” version, as well as in their full or semi-complete version (bread, rice, pasta …). Where there is little or no starch left in refined grains, whole grains are high in fiber, B vitamins and antioxidants, which may explain their benefits. “The presence of dietary fiber […] may be satiating, and magnesium, potassium, and antioxidants may help lower blood pressure. Soluble fiber in particular may have a beneficial effect on blood sugar spikes after meals”, Commented Caleigh Sawicki, co-author of the study, in a communicated.
In detail, the results showed that, for each 4-year interval:
- waist circumference increased on average by more than 1 inch (2.54 cm) in low intake participants compared to about ½ inch (1.27 com) in high whole grain intake participants;
- even after controlling for waist size changes, the average increases in blood sugar and blood pressure were greater in low-intake participants than in high-intake participants.
“These data suggest that people who eat more whole grains are better able to maintain their weight, blood sugar, and blood pressure over time. Managing these risk factors as we age may help protect against heart disease”, Concluded Nicola McKeown, who led the study.
What food for a healthy heart?
To prevent cardiovascular disease, we pay attention to what we eat. A diet rich in fish but also in fruits and vegetables promotes good heart health.
Eat everything but without excess, favoring foods that are friendly to our arteries: these are the bases of a diet that is good for the heart. In detail, here are the expert recommendations.
Is there a preferred diet for the heart?
To protect his heart, it is the most effective Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean diet is popular
” It’s about a diet low in saturated fat, rich in Omega 3 and in antioxidants », Says Professor Jean Ferrières. Cardiologist at Toulouse University Hospital, he participated in the international Monica study which, in the 1990s, showed significant regional disparities linked to diet. Thus, the countries of northern Europe and, in France, the regions of Lille and Strasbourg, where we eat more meat, cold meats, butter and cream, were more affected by the infarction than the regions Mediterranean where we consume more fish, fruits, vegetables and olive oil.
This diet remains recommended by the European Society of Cardiology, for the entire population. On the other hand, cardiologists have relaxed their position on certain points and no food is prohibited. Moderation advice takes precedence over abstinence.
What about vegetarian and vegan diets?
- For Professor Ferrières, “the vegetarian diet is rather cardioprotective because it advocates a sober lifestyle and is rather low in calories. »However, muscles need iron to work. This nutrient is found mainly in the meat. “It is very difficult to have the necessary ration with a vegetarian diet”, emphasizes the cardiologist.
- The vegans, who ban all animal products from their diet, expose themselves to iron deficiency.
What foods are good for the arteries?
Fish in quantity
The fatty fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring …) are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, more favorable to the cardiovascular system. In this family, we find the Omega 3 which “allow cell membranes to be more fluid.” They help lower triglycerides and blood pressure. The good HDL cholesterol increases. They also have an anti-aggregating (against clot formation, Editor’s note) and antiarrhythmic effect, ”summarizes Professor Ferrières. Current recommendations are to consume fish twice a week.
Unlimited fruits and vegetables
” The fiber from fruits and vegetables capture excess fat in the food bowl, ”recalls Professor Ferrières. In this sense, they help to lower cholesterol. According to Dr. Marie-Christine Iliou, cardiologist, “ 200 g of fruit and 200 g of vegetables per day provide the necessary ration. ”
Fruits and vegetables also provide antioxidant nutrients, especially polyphenols many studies of which show that they reduce cardiovascular risk. “Olive oil, tea, cocoa and even soybeans are rich in polyphenols,” says Dr Iliou.
If red wine also contains polyphenols, on this point, cardiologists do not have the same point of view as liver specialists and oncologists. “The European Society of Cardiology does not advocate abstinence”, underlines Professor Ferrières. But there is no question of pushing for consumption. The cardioprotective dose is limited to one glass of red wine per day, during a meal for better absorption of polyphenols.
Eggs without excess
Egg yolk is high in cholesterol which, a priori, classifies it in the category of foods to avoid. However, the egg contains a lot of interesting nutrients. For Dr Iliou, “ four to six eggs maximum per week are allowed, including egg preparations.
What foods are bad for the heart?
Not too much red meat
” The saturated fats (red meat, butter, etc.) should not represent more than 10% of our diet, notes Dr Marie-Christine Iliou, cardiologist. They are the ones that cause excess cholesterol. They accumulate in the body, are deposited on the arteries and can block them. ”
The the most fatty meats are, in order, mutton, pork and beef. It is advisable not to consume mutton more than once a month. For other red meats, once or twice a week is sufficient, without exceeding 500 g.
In the journal Cardiovascular Research of July 2021, of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), doctors point out that it is necessary to differentiate processed meat and red meatpoultry. The first two are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. For white meat, the intake can go up to three portions of 100 g per week). Red meat (beef, pork, lamb) should be limited to two portions of 100 g per week while the consumption of processed meat (bacon, sausage, salami) should be reserved for very occasional use. As an alternative, legumes (up to four 180g servings per week), high in protein, are the recommended substitute. As for fish, scientists recommend moderate consumption of the order two to four servings 150 g per week.
People with heart disease are no longer subjected to strict salt-free diets. The current recommendation is to do not exceed 6 g of salt per day, while the average consumption in France is higher. A downside: people with heart failure or suffering from high blood pressure should not exceed 4 g of salt per day.
Avoid ultra-processed foods
A French study published in the British medical journal, in May 2019, highlights a link between junk food and heart disease. A 10% increase in the share of ultra-processed foods (smoked meats, sausages, hams, dehydrated soups, sodas, confectionery, chocolate bars, foods reconstituted with additives…), in a person’s diet, increases the risk of cardiovascular disease by 12%.
Having a fast food restaurant near you increases the risk of a heart attack
In the UK, researchers at the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI), the University of Newcastle and Hunter New England Health (HNE Health) found that for every new facility opening of fast food, the number of heart attacks per 100,000 inhabitants has quadrupled. These conclusions were published in March 2021 in the latest edition of Internal Medicine Journal.
“The heart attack is one of the leading causes of death in the world. However, recent data suggests that an increasing number of heart attacks cannot be explained by known risk factors. There is a well-established link between fast food consumption and cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks. This highlights the need to explore the role of food availability in the likelihood of having a heart attack, ”explained Dr Saluja.
Study co-author and cardiologist at John Hunter Hospital, Professor Andrew Boyle explained that while the harmfulness of fast food on the heart has already been proven, no one had determined whether the number of restaurants was itself a predictor. This correlation was seen even after controlling for other factors such as age, obesity, hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), hypertension (high blood pressure), smoking, diabetes and socio-economic status.