The potential cardiovascular benefits of many foods and diets are still poorly understood and scientific research continues to evolve.

Meanwhile, a number of controversial diets , foods and nutrients have received significant media attention and are bogged down by hype.

An analysis published in July 2018 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology addresses some of the most recent foods and dietary patterns recommended for cardiovascular health .

The primary objective of this study was to provide clinicians with up-to-date information on patient discussions in a clinical setting.

Specifically, this analysis looks at the dairy , the added sugars , the legumes , the coffee , the tea , the drinks , the mushrooms , fermented foods, algae, fatty acids omega-3 vegetable and marine and vitamin B12 .

Recent food models recommended.


Researchers are regularly exploring popular dietary trends, and new evidence suggests beneficial results especially for legumes, mushrooms, coffee and tea.

What is the balance sheet of the potential benefits to heart health of popular health foods? Nutrition and lifestyle researchers from the American College of Cardiology(Washington, DC) discuss nutritional ” hypes ” (food trends) and controversies around dairy products, added sugars, legumes, coffee and tea, alcohol, energy drinks , mushrooms, fermented foods, omega-3 and vitamin B12.

© Journal of the American College of Cardiology.


Current nutritional recommendations show that a heart- healthy diet contains lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts . However, “there are many food groups that can confuse patients, including dairy products, added sugar, coffee and alcohol,” the researchers say.

While low-fat dairy products can significantly lower blood pressure , several studies have found a link between dairy consumption and increased LDL cholesterol , fractures, and all-cause mortality.

There is no clear consensus on expert consumption of dairy products, but after a review of multiple meta-analyzes, researchers determined that dairy products should be consumed with caution.

The consumption of added sugars – such as table sugar and high fructose corn syrup – has been associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease , stroke and worsening cardiovascular disease .

Researchers strongly urge individuals to eliminate added sugars from their diet as much as possible, including processed foods and sugary drinks such as soft drinks, fruit drinks and sports drinks (energy drinks).

The benefits of chickpeas.


Legumes, which include beans, chickpeas, lentils, peas and soy, have been shown to successfully reduce coronary heart disease and improve blood glucose, LDL cholesterol, systolic blood pressure and weight.

Legumes are affordable and a source of protein. Adding more beans and dishes like hummus (chickpea recipe) in our diet to promote heart health seems like a wise choice.

Caffeine is good for the heart muscle .


Coffee is an interesting and beneficial drink if it is consumed intelligently.

Overall, usual coffee consumption is associated with lower risks of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality.

In addition, there is no association between coffee development and hypertension.

The benefits of tea everyday.


The consumption of black tea and green tea without added sugars, without sweeteners or milks and creams, seems to be safe and even associated with an improvement of cardiovascular health and blood lipids.

Mushroom consumption can be cardio-protective.


Clinical and preclinical studies suggest that mushroom consumption can be cardio-protective through a variety of mechanisms.

Most studies indicate that fungi have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and are vitamin D producers .

Bioactive compounds such as ergothioneine (amino acid), ergosterol (sterol) and beta-glucans (polysaccharides) are responsible for these effects.

Fungus consumption has also been associated with a reduction in comorbidities related to cardiovascular diseases, such as metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Although there is no evidence of high quality improvement in cardiovascular health, fungi may be associated with improved inflammatory and antioxidative pathways and have beneficial effects on known comorbid risk factors.

Red wine contains polyphenols.


Although the relationship between alcohol use and cardiovascular disease is complex, a low to moderate intake is associated with a reduced risk of total cardiovascular disease.

However, because of the risk of falls, certain cancers and liver diseases, researchers do not recommend individuals to consume alcohol for cardiovascular reasons.

Dish of kimchi (fermented cabbage).


Fermented foods and seaweed provide no evidence of high quality beneficial effects. Observational studies and clinical trials suggest that natural probiotics and algae have potential benefits on cardiovascular disease, dyslipidemia and weight.

However, there is insufficient evidence to recommend them routinely at this time, although there is also no evidence of harm caused by their consumption.

Probiotics are microorganisms found in fermented foods. They are known to upregulate the production of T and dendritic cells that can suppress inflammation.

Probiotics are supposed to reduce cholesterol by de-conjugating bile acids, using cholesterol to nourish and / or incorporating cholesterol into the cell wall of probiotic bacteria.

• Trendy fermented foods include kimchi . Kimchi, a Korean recipe made from fermented cabbage, has long been known for its medicinal properties and is rich in dietary fiber, vitamin C, β-carotene, β-sitosterol and minerals.

In a 2-week study in 22 overweight and obese patients who consumed 3 servings (100 g) of kimchi per day, a significant decrease in mean weight (3.3 lb), fasting glucose (100 ± 10.2 mg / day) dl at 94.1 ± 11.3 mg / dl), and systolic blood pressure (126.1 ± 12.1 mmHg at 121.3 ± 6.9 mmHg) were observed from baseline. In another study, kimchi was administered to patients in “low” and “high” amounts.

After only a week, fasting blood glucose, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol decreased significantly in the group with high kimchi in their diets – despite the high sodium content of kimchi. The lack of effect of sodium on blood pressure may reflect the high potassium content of kimchi.

Fermented milk (dairy and non-dairy) and yoghurt


• Fermented milk (dairy and non-dairy products) and yogurts affect the microbial flora in the gut. In two separate studies, daily addition of yogurt for 3 or 4 weeks to subjects’ diets resulted in a 2.4% or 3.2% decrease in total cholesterol concentration.

• The seaweed family contains a variety of seaweeds that are excellent sources of dietary fiber as well as antioxidants and other compounds beneficial to cardiovascular health.

The compounds present in the algae (for example, alginates, fucoxanthin, fucoidan) have anti-obesity and cholesterol – lowering properties , partly by promoting satiety.

In a four-month study of 151 pre-menopausal obese women, daily intake of 300 mg brown seaweed extract containing 2.4 mg fucoxanthin resulted in a significant decrease in body weight (kg5 kg), waist circumference and markers.

Algae are also a rich source of bioactive peptides that, when concentrated, have blood pressure lowering properties and improve insulin sensitivity.

• Spirulina . A recent meta-analysis suggests that Spirulina, a blue-green filamentous spiral microalgae (Cyanobacterium), which is considered a nutraceutical, has hypocholesterolemic properties.

Garden watercress absorbs and transports cobalamin.


The vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is an essential micronutrient deficiencies associated with severe hematologic and neurologic consequences.

Vitamin B12 supplementation is considered to have many health effects: improved energy levels, memory, mood, cardiovascular health and health of the skin, hair and nails.

Although it is clear that folic acid and vitamin B12 supplements reduce homocysteine levels, the results of several large prospective studies have not shown that these supplements reduce the risk of recurrent incidence or cardiovascular disease. .

In the cardiovascular study of folic acid and antioxidants in women, 5,442 women with pre-existing cardiovascular disease or coronary risk factors took a daily supplement containing vitamin B12, folic acid and vitamin B6 or placebo for 7.3 years. The treatment was not associated with a reduced risk of major cardiovascular event.

A healthy diet for the heart.


A healthy diet for the heart has been the cornerstone of prevention and treatment of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease for decades.

Each year, patients are bombarded with new miracle foods that claim to promote health, affect weight loss and reduce the risk of disease.

Although the scientific evidence base for some of these foods is limited, there are a number of components and diets that have clearly demonstrated their ability to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease.

Healthy, evidence-based eating habits are high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, in addition to nuts in moderation; some may include modest amounts of lean meats (including poultry and fish), low-fat dairy products, liquid vegetable oils and alcoholic beverages such as wine .

There are several food groups, specific foods, nutrients and supplements that remain controversial in the scientific community, resulting in confusion for patients, consumers and the media.

There is no perfect model.

The present study therefore focuses on additional contemporary nutritional controversies and provides evidence-based recommendations to facilitate dietary advice provided by clinicians.

Current data supports the consumption of vegetable protein, legumes, omega 3, mushrooms, coffee and tea with no added sugars, low to moderate amounts of alcohol and fermented foods.

The verdict on dairy products as part of a healthy diet for the heart is still pending and, if consumed, dairy products should be avoided or consumed moderately.
Also Read: The Benefits of Dietary Fiber Against Brain Inflammation

Finally, there is no perfect and unique model for preventing heart disease. But most evidence continues to reinforce the fact that an essentially herbal diet contains less fat, added sugars, added salt, processed foods.

For clinicians, health and nutrition professionals, it’s about staying abreast of growing dietary trends and current scientific evidence to provide relevant and accurate nutritional advice to patients.


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