6 Foods for a Healthy Adult Heart

6 Foods for a Healthy Adult Heart

The Power of Healthy Eating: Foods That Reduce Heart Disease Risk


Heart disease is a major concern worldwide, contributing to millions of deaths every year. However, recent findings from a comprehensive study led by scientists at McMaster University and the Population Research Health Institute (PHRI) in Canada shed new light on the importance of specific foods in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart attacks and strokes. The study, which analyzed data from 245,000 people in 80 countries, emphasized the significant role that fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, fish, and whole-fat dairy products play in maintaining heart health.

The Study and its Unique Approach

The researchers utilized data from the ongoing Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study, deriving a diet score that measured health outcomes in different regions and among individuals with and without prior heart disease. Unlike previous diet scores, the PURE Healthy Diet score focused solely on protective, or natural, foods rather than combining them with harmful processed or ultra-processed foods. This approach highlighted the importance of embracing a higher consumption of protective foods for disease prevention.

Moderation is Key

While fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes were identified as essential components of a healthy diet, the study emphasized the importance of moderation. In addition to these foods, moderate consumption of fish, whole-fat dairy, unrefined whole grains, and unprocessed meats was linked to a lower risk of heart disease and premature death. This finding implies that a varied diet that includes different food groups can still achieve desirable health outcomes as long as it focuses on natural and unprocessed options.

Recommendations for a Heart-Healthy Diet

Based on the healthy diet score, individuals are encouraged to incorporate the following servings into their daily meals:

  • Two to three servings of fruits
  • Two to three servings of vegetables
  • One serving of nuts
  • Two servings of dairy
  • Three to four weekly servings of legumes
  • Two to three servings of fish

Furthermore, individuals can substitute one serving of whole grains, unprocessed meat, or poultry daily, allowing for flexibility and personal preferences within a heart-healthy diet.


Confronting Heart Disease

The significance of adopting a healthy diet to combat heart disease cannot be overstated. In 2019 alone, nearly 18 million people worldwide lost their lives due to cardiovascular disease, accounting for approximately 32% of all deaths. Heart attacks and strokes, the leading causes of CVD-related deaths, were responsible for 85% of these fatalities.

The findings from this study, published in the European Heart Journal, provide valuable insights into the importance of specific foods in reducing the risk of heart disease. By embracing a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, fish, and whole-fat dairy products, individuals can take proactive steps towards improving their heart health and overall well-being.

Source: Hamilton Health Sciences and McMaster University, news release, July 6, 2023