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Coffee and plant-based diet can reduce risk of heart failure, say scientists

16 November 2017 08:26

Heart failure occurs when the heart is too week to pump blood around the body

Heart failure occurs when the heart is too week to pump blood around the body

A diet of fruit, veg and coffee could be the latest step in reducing the risk of heart failure, scientists say.

A large-scale research project, monitoring thousands of participants over a four-year period, finds that a plant-based diet can reduce the chance of the developing the condition by as much as 42%.

A separate study re-analysing data from a long-running investigation into heart disease shows that increased coffee consumption reduces the chance of heart failure by 7% and the risk of having a stroke by 8%.

Anyone who has suffered from a heart condition can still enjoy holidays and trips abroad by taking out medical travel insurance.

The diet study

Scientists gave 15,569 patients one of five diet types and analysed the results over four years.

These diet types are:

• Convenience - red meats, pastas, fried potatoes, fast foods

• Plant-based - dark leafy vegetables, fruits, beans, fish

• Sweets - desserts, breads, sweet breakfast foods, chocolate, sweets

• Southern - eggs, fried food, organ meats, processed meat, sugar-sweetened drinks

• Alcohol/salads - salad dressings, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, butter, wine

The study finds that those on a plant-based diet see their risk of developing heart problems significantly reduced.

Dr Kyla Lara, lead researcher on the diet study from Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, said: "Eating a diet mostly of dark green leafy plants, fruits, beans, whole grains and fish, while limiting processed meats, saturated fats, trans fats, refined carbohydrates and foods high in added sugars is a heart-healthy lifestyle and may specifically help prevent heart failure if you don't already have it."

The coffee study

Reanalysis of data from the Framingham Heart Study - a large scale, long-running US investigation of heart disease risk factors - finds that increasing your coffee intake by just one cup per week lowers a person's chances of heart failure and stroke when compared with no consumption.

Victoria Taylor, senior dietitian at the British Heart Foundation, says previous research suggests drinking three to five cups of coffee does not affect a person's risk of developing heart and circulatory disease.

However, she adds that "more research is needed before we can confidently say how coffee consumption may impact our heart health".

She continued: "Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, cutting down on salt, and maintaining a healthy weight are all important parts of a balanced diet that helps lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.

"Our advice for people trying to improve their lifestyle is to focus on their whole diet, rather than the amount of individual foods or drinks they consume."