Eat veggies leads to cardiovascular benefits in middle age

  • Kim H & al.
  • J Am Heart Assoc
  • 20 Aug 2019

  • International Clinical Digest
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Takeaway

  • A plant-based diet offers benefits against cardiovascular (CV) disease (CVD), CV death, and all-cause mortality among middle-aged adults.

Why this matters

  • This study used a community-based approach, with findings that are generalizable for middle-aged adults.

Study design

  • Cohort from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study, including 12,168 adults, followed 1987-2016.
  • 4 diet classifications were used, based on gradations of plant-based food intake relative to animal-based food intake: plant‐based diet index (PDI), healthy PDI, unhealthy PDI, and provegetarian.
  • Outcomes: CVD, CVD mortality, all-cause mortality.
  • Funding: NIH, others.

Key results

  • Highest unhealthy PDI quintile was linked to increased hypertension likelihood but reduced diabetes risk (P<.05 both>
  • Across all models, vs lowest quintile for plant intake, highest quintile scores for PDI or provegetarian diets respectively linked to:
    • 16% reduced CVD risk (both diets);
    • 32% and 31% reduced CV mortality risk; and
    • 25% and 18% reduced all-cause mortality risk (all P<.001>
  • Unhealthy PDI scores showed no detectable pattern of association with any outcomes.
  • Specific foods:
    • Higher potato intake inversely associated with CVD, all-cause mortality;
    • Dairy, fish, seafood showed no associations; and
    • Eggs, red and processed meat were associated with increased risks for all 3 outcomes.

Limitations

  • Self-reported intake from decades ago.