When an upstanding journal like the 'American Journal of Clinical Nutrition' tells you that you can reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke by almost a third, then you better pay attention. According to the study conducted by King's College London, switching to a healthy diet can reduce the risk of heart trouble in people over 40.
Scientists engaged 162 men and women (non-smokers) aged between 40 to 70 and measured their blood pressure, artery health and cholesterol - All factors that are usually good indicators of the chances of someone getting a stroke.
One group was given the ideal 'healthy diet' which is based on the current dietary recommendations in the United Kingdom (UK). It's high in fat, salt and sugar, and low in fibre, oily fish, fruits and vegetables. The second group ate a diet with higher amounts of fruit and vegetables, less of animal fat, oily fish once a week, replaced refined with wholegrain cereals and restricted salt and sugar intake. Both the groups were also asked to limit their intake of sweets, biscuits, cake, chips and alcohol.
The 'healthy diet' resulted in a considerable drop in blood pressure, an average reduction in heart rate, 8% in men and 4 % in women, and an 8% fall in cholesterol levels. According to Tom Sanders from King's College London, "Our findings apply to middle-aged and older people without existing health problems. This is important because most heart attacks and strokes occur in those not identified as being at high risk."
He added, "We show that adherence to current dietary guidelines which advocate a change in dietary pattern from the traditional British diet (high in saturated fat, salt and sugar, low in fibre, oily fish and fruit and vegetables) would substantially lower that risk."
The average body weight for those that followed the 'healthy diet' fell by 1.3 kg on an average. It rose by .6 kilos (on an average) for those who followed the regular diet. The waist circumference was also .6 inches lower in the group that was given the 'healthy diet'.
The stark differences in the results of the target group show just how far a 'healthy diet' can go to reduce not just your weight, but also reduce the risk of heart disease and other lifestyle related disorders.
With inputs from IANS