Do Plant-Based Diets Lower Heart Failure Risk?

In a study published recently in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers prospectively followed over 16000 American adults with diverse ethnic backgrounds and no known coronary heart disease or heart failure at baseline.

Questionnaires were used to determine dietary patterns and these were repeated every 6 months for an average of 8.7 years. After adjusting for smoking and other confounders the results showed a statistically significant reduction in heart failure risk in those people who were most adherent to plant-based dietary patterns, stating: “In the fully adjusted analyses, there was a 41% lower risk for new HF hospitalizations for participants who were most adherent (Q4) to the plant-based dietary pattern, compared with those who were the least adherent (Q1).”

In speculation about why there may have been this reduction many physicians who were interviewed by Medscape (a medical news outlet) cited the known protective effect of antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables on the heart. Also suggested was the anti-inflammatory effect of a plant-based diet and the high fibre content, which contributes to a healthy gut microbiome (shown in other studies to be important in cardiovascular health).

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