A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology assessed that diet that is rich in red meat, refined sugars and sugary beverages could cause inflammation in the body, increasing the risk of heart problems and stroke when compared to anti-inflammatory foods. A separate study published in the same journal appraise that there are positive effects of eating walnuts, an anti-inflammatory food on decreasing inflammation and risk of heart disease.

Chronic inflammation has been shown to have a significant role in the development of heart disease and stroke. Early and late stages of atherosclerosis are somewhere associated with specific inflammatory biomarkers, such as interleukins, chemokines and adhesion molecules. Various studies have established that diet has a significance regarding the inflammation levels in the body. Anti-inflammatory diet patterns including olive oil, nuts, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, seafood consumption and light diary diet help in maintaining the lower concentration of inflammatory biomarkers and reduces the risk of heart disease. There has been less research concentrated on the matter that long-term adherence to pro-inflammatory diets can correlate with high rates of heart disease and stroke.

heart health Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay The participants of the study are men and women from the Nurses’ Health Studies I and II starting from 1986 and including a follow up of 32 years. Researches have excluded the participants who have a previous heart disease history, cancer and those with missing dietary intake information. Excluding the above mentioned over 210,000 participants were the part of the analysis. The participants took part in a survey every four years to determine their dietary intake.

Jun Li, MD, PhD, lead author of the study and research scientist in the department of nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said, “By using an empirically-developed, food-based dietary index to evaluate levels of inflammation associated with dietary intake, we found that dietary patterns with higher inflammatory potential were associated with an increased rate of cardiovascular disease. Our study is among the first to link a food-based dietary inflammatory index with long-term risk of cardiovascular disease.”

The food-based pro-inflammatory dietary index based on 18 pre-defined food groups that together show the strongest associations with an increase in inflammatory biomarkers. All the other risk factors were controlled, many such as BMI, physical activity, family history of heart disease and multivitamin use. The statistics have shown that the participants consuming pro-inflammatory diets were at a 46% higher risk of heart disease and 28% higher risk of stroke in comparison to those participants that were consuming anti-inflammatory diets.

The researchers suggest that anti-inflammatory diet intake with higher levels of antioxidants and fibre help to fight inflammation. Common anti-inflammatory foods include Green leafy vegetables, yellow vegetables, whole grains, coffee, tea and others. The researchers also recommended limiting the intake of refined sugars, grains, fried foods, soda, processed milk and red meat. These foods are significant contributors to the pro-inflammatory dietary index.

Ramon Estruch, MD, PhD, senior consultant in the department of internal medicine at Hospital Clinic in Barcelona, Spain, and author of an accompanying editorial comment, said, “A better knowledge of health protection provided by different foods and dietary patterns, mainly their anti-inflammatory properties, should provide the basis for designing even healthier dietary patterns to protect against heart disease. He also added, “When choosing foods in our diet, we should indeed beware of their pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory potential!”

Anti-Inflammatory foods like Walnuts Reduces Rate of Heart Disease anti-inflammatory foods Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com In a parallel study, researchers assessed that incorporating anti-inflammatory foods such as walnut may improve inflammatory biomarkers. Various studies have stated that regular nut consumption is related to lower the risk of heart disease risk and reduce the cholesterol levels; however, there has been limited research which has shown the linking of nut consumption with decreasing inflammation in the body. A total of 634 participants were given either a diet without walnuts or a diet, including walnuts (about 30-60 grams each day). The assessment was made after a follow-up period of two years. Participants who ate a diet with walnuts showed a reduced level of inflammation in the body in every 6 out of 10 of the inflammatory biomarkers tests performed.

“The anti-inflammatory effect of long-term consumption of walnuts demonstrated in this study provides novel mechanistic insight for the benefit of walnut consumption on heart disease risk beyond that of cholesterol-lowering,” said Montserrant Cofán, PhD, lead author of the study and a researcher at the August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute in Barcelona, Spain.

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