Obesity has recently become an epidemic. Too many people are becoming too fat nowadays because of excessive calorie intake from junk foods and sweetened processed foods and from lack of exercise due to too much TV watching, computer work and being sedentary most of the time. Obesity can increase morbidity and mortality because it can lead to numerous medical problems such as heart disease, stroke, hypertension and other conditions. Thus the quest for a better diet that can lessen heart disease and keep excess fat off is on.
Whole Foods and Heart Disease
Scientists have recently found out that eating whole foods on a daily basis can reduce cardiovascular diseases and their risk of acquiring them. Eating whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, fish and nuts can reduce cardiovascular risks than eating a diet which has reduced fat. The researchers, who published their findings in The American Journal of Medicine, have explained that low-fat diets can lower cholesterol levels yet they cannot reduce the risks of death from cardiovascular diseases. In this study, the researchers have focused on analyzing past studies that have studied major diet and heart disease. It was found that people who adopted whole diets in the long run had greater risk reduction in cardiovascular disease and deaths. These people did not even limit fat intake. The findings shed light to the earlier knowledge that linked high cholesterol levels through increased intake of saturated fat to an increased risk for coronary heart diseases. It was this earlier knowledge that led the American Heart Association to recommend that people should limit their fat intake to less than 30 percent of the total daily calorie intake as well as limit their saturated fat intake to 10 percent or less and their cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams per day.
The researchers found out that many studies done during the 1960s until the 80s have compared usual diets with low-fat diets and diets with increased polyunsaturated fats. All these diets, though they did reduce cholesterol levels, were not able to reduce risks for cardiovascular diseases and death.
However, these investigators noted that the whole diet approach, such as that of Mediterranean-style diets, have proven to be effective in preventing heart disease regardless of whether they can indeed lower total cholesterol or low density (LDL) cholesterol levels. The Mediterranean style diet is typically low in saturated and animal fat and high in monounsaturated fats from olive oil, nuts and seeds. This type of diet also focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes and fish.
The authors commented that one should focus on foods which can protect from heart disease, especially if you have greater cardiovascular risks. Diet is more important that medications and diagnostic procedures in the management and prevention of heart disease. More studies should be done to really determine whether whole foods could lower cardiovascular disease risk in the long run. The researchers believed that there are some food groups which are more cardioprotective more than others. They recommend to use olive oil more than butter and cream and increase intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish and whole grains.
What are whole foods?
Whole foods are unprocessed and unrefined foods or are minimally processed and refined foods. These foods usually are not added with salt, flavourings, colourings and preservatives. These include unpolished grains, beans, vegetables, fruits and non-homogenized milk and dairy products. These foods are risk in antioxidants, fibers and other phytochemicals that help eliminate free radicals and protect us from harmful illnesses. They are a good source of micronutrients that boost energy levels and protect cells from damage.
If you want to live a healthy life, you can learn how to do so by reading our other articles on this site.