World Health Organisation (WHO) has termed heart disease as the “killer” of humans globally, however, you can mitigate the risk of heart disease by opting for a healthy diet.
In a recent statement, nutritional experts have ranked some popular diets suggested by American Heart Association’s (AHA) evidence-based dietary guidelines for heart health — published in 2021.
The scientists suggested going for the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or DASH diet — those food products that cause high blood pressure.
The pescatarian diet, — dairy, eggs, fish and other seafood but no meat or poultry, — was 92% according to the guidelines of AHA guidelines. The lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet allows dairy and eggs, and variations that include one or the other, were 86% according to the guidelines.
The Mediterranean diet was also found to be 89% parallel to the AHA dietary recommendations.
Lead author Christopher Gardner, a research professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center in California said, the Mediterranean diet came in third mostly because it recommends a small glass of red wine each day and doesn’t limit salt.
Gardner said: “The American Heart Association says no one should drink alcohol if they haven’t started and if they do drink, to do so minimally.”
The Mediterranean diet is associated with reducing the risk for diabetes, high cholesterol, dementia, memory loss, depression and breast cancer including weight loss, stronger bones, a healthier heart and longer life.
But all of these diets share so much in common that they can really be grouped together as a top “tier” of eating patterns, said the lead author.
He added: “We basically were trying to say a diet doesn’t have to be 100 to be good. All of the diets in the top tier are plant-based, and if they are off base a bit aren’t hard to fix. Paleo and keto, however, really can’t be fixed. You’d have to completely overhaul them.”
Very low-carb diets and various keto diets were at the lower level of heart-healthy eating patterns, because of their stress on red meat, whole dairy and saturated fats, including limited fruit and vegetable intake.
The statement read: A vegan diet that incorporated more than 10% fat and low-fat diets such as volumetrics were in the second tier — both met 78% of the AHA dietary guidelines.
Statement is for doctors
Gardner said: “While people concerned with heart health can and should use the new AHA ranking of the 10 diets, the scientific statement was written for physicians. The goal is to get doctors up to speed since nutrition is not often prioritised in medical school.”
He went on: “It’s a cheat sheet for doctors. When they do ask about diet — which I don’t think is all that often — and a patient says, ‘Oh, yeah, I’m paleo. I’m vegan. I’m keto or I’m DASH,’ I don’t think they really know what that means.”
Gardner stressed to that point that “each diet in the rankings was evaluated as it was intended to be eaten, not as people might actually do in real life.”