The Best Eating Habit for Your Heart, Says New Study — Eat This Not That

If you are looking to enhance your cardiovascular functionfollow your instinct.

That’s the idea of ​​a recent study in Natural medicinewhich looked at the connection between gut health and heart disease and found a strong association.

The researchers looked at about 1,200 middle-aged Europeans, including those without heart problems and others with problems such as type 2 diabetes, obesity and ischemic heart disease. By comparing the composition of their gut bacteria, the researchers found that people with heart problems tended to have a significant amount of alterations in the gut microbiome.

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“These major alterations in the gut can begin many years before the onset of symptoms and diagnosis of heart disease,” according to one of the lead researchers, Oluf PedersenMD, professor in the department of clinical medicine at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

plant based dish

Leaning toward a plant-based diet can offer considerable advantages for both heart health and gut regulationhe says Eat this, not that!.

“The human gut and its bacteria are like a rain forest,” he says. “We need as much diversity as possible, because when that diversity is reduced our health can be at risk.”

beneficial bacteria strengthens the immune system and helps improve mood, he adds, in addition to many other functions ranging from reducing inflammation to deeper sleep.

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fermented foods can help keep the good bacteria in your gut and reduce the less helpful types of bacteria, largely due to the amount of fiber in these foods.

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For example, a recent study in the journal mSystems found that as little as two weeks of a high-fiber diet can provide gut health benefits and lead to better nutrient absorption.

This type of plant-based diet has also been shown in a wide variety of research to directly improve heart function. The American Heart Association emphasizes that this is true at any age, citing a study which linked a plant-based diet in young adulthood with a lower midlife risk of heart attack and stroke, and another study with similar results for postmenopausal women.

A certain level of gut composition tends to be genetic, says Pedersen, but the important takeaway from his research and other studies is that lifestyle makes a big difference, particularly what you eat.

“You can repair some of the damage to your gut just by changing your eating habits, and that also improves other organs, especially your heart and brain,” he says.

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