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What does a plant-based diet do for heart failure?
A plant-based diet seems to help people with heart failure (heart failure) to better deal with symptoms that appear and even significantly reduce some of these symptoms.
An evaluation of various studies found that people with heart failure seem to benefit greatly from a plant-based diet. The results were published in the English-language open access medical journal "Cureus".
Three studies were particularly interesting
For the current investigation, data from studies from the year 2000 to March in 2020 were evaluated. The researchers focused on people with heart failure and their risk factors. They analyzed the data of people who were either vegetarian, vegan or plant-based. The research group identified three studies in which plant-based diets were used as an intervention.
Plant-based diet against heart disease?
Heart failure is associated with the development of chronic diseases and premature death. It has been shown in the past that a plant-based diet can improve the health of people with heart diseases. The current evaluation suggests that such a diet can be extremely beneficial for people with heart failure, for example by increasing blood flow, which enables those affected to be more active.
Plant-based diet lowered risk factors for heart disease
In one of the studies evaluated, a plant-based diet lowered the risk factors for heart disease and improved physical resilience, reports the research team. After only three months of plant-based nutrition, participants lost weight, reduced their BMI and LDL cholesterol, and suffered less from angina.
Plant-based nutrition improves heart function
The second evaluated study found that cardiac function improved significantly with a plant-based diet. In particular, the left ventricle (which pumps blood to the body and brain) gained strength during the 60-day plant-based diet and improved its ability to pump blood from the heart through the body by 35 percent. At the end of the 60 days, the so-called ejection fraction of the heart normalized and the physical strength increased. Participants also saw a significant decrease in total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL levels.
What did 79 days of plant nutrition do?
The third study analyzed whether people with heart failure benefit from a 79-day plant-based diet. Affected individuals showed a 92 percent improvement in heart blood flow, while the enlarged heart size decreased 21 percent. According to the research group, the pump output improved by 62 percent.
More research is needed
The results of the three studies suggest that people with heart failure may need to switch to a plant-based diet. These results, albeit in small samples, may pave the way for further studies with a stricter design to shed more light on the effects of a plant-based diet on heart failure than clinical intervention, the researchers report. Only a few people took part in the evaluated studies and overview studies are considered to be less reliable than clinical studies. But all the evidence suggests that plant-based nutrition can lead to dramatic and measurable improvements in heart failure. (as)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- Faris A. Alasmre, Hammam A. Alotaibi: Plant-Based Diet: A Potential Intervention for Heart Failure, in Cureus (published June 25, 2020), Cureus