When a person has a heart attack part of their muscle suddenly becomes blocked, preventing the heart from getting the oxygen-rich blood it needs to function. Timely treatment is critical as without it, the blocked heart muscle is at risk for permanent damage the longer blood flow remains cut off. What a person eats may either help or hinder themselves from added risk of developing a heart attack. According to the latest study, eating this particular diet will help to reduce your risk of heart attacks and coronary heart disease.
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A primarily vegetarian diet “significantly reduces” the risk of heart disease, according to a new study.
Researchers say that it is because plant-based food minimises the negative effects of a gut-microbiome associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease.
The body’s gut microbiota is comprised of a series of microbes that play an important role in the metabolism, nutrient absorption, energy levels and immune system responses.
Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) is produced when gut bacteria digests nutrients commonly found in animal products like red meat and it has been connected to increased heart attacks.
Researchers in the United States investigated how diet quality modifies the association between TMAO and coronary heart disease.
They examined 760 women aged 30 to 55, their blood was measured for plasma concentrations of TMAO on two different occasions, 10 years apart.
The participants were also asked to report data on dietary patterns, smoking habits and levels of physical activity.
The results showed women who developed coronary heart disease had higher concentrations of TMAO levels in their blood.
Women with the largest increases in TMAO levels across the study had a 67 percent higher risk of coronary heart disease.
Every increase in TMAO was associated with a 23 percent increase in the disease.
The women with higher TMAO levels also had a higher BMI, family history of heart attacks and did not follow a healthy diet including a higher intake of vegetables and a lower intake of animal products.
Dr Lu Qi, of Tulane University Obesity Research Centre, said: “Diet is one of the most important modifiable risk factors to control TMAO levels in the body.
“No previous prospective cohort study has addressed whether long-term changes in TMAO are associated with CHD, and whether dietary intakes can modify these associations.
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“Our findings show that decreasing TMAO levels may contribute to reducing the risk of CHD, and suggest that gut-microbiomes may be new areas to explore in heart disease prevention.”
The study authors found no differences in TMAO levels between coronary heart disease and the control participants at the first blood collection.
Stanford University School of Medicine Professor Dr Paul Heidenreich added: “The findings of the study provide further evidence for the role of TMAO as a predictive biomarker for heart disease and strengthens the case for TMAO as a potential intervention target in heart disease prevention.
“The results should encourage us to continue to advocate for a more widespread adoption of healthy eating patterns.”
The NHS added: “Making lifestyle changes is the most effective way to prevent having a heart attack.
“There are three main steps you can take to help prevent a heart attack which include eating a healthy, balanced diet, do not smoke and try to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level.
“The advice on eating a healthy, balanced diet also applies if you have high blood pressure.
“In addition, cut down on the amount of salt in your food.”
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