High intake of healthy plant foods may lower CHD risk
High consumption of a plant-based diet index (PDI) that is rich in healthier plant foods may substantially reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), while a PDI that emphasizes less-healthy plant foods may increase the risk of CHD, reports a new study.
There were 8,631 incident CHD cases documented over 4,833,042 person-years of follow-up.
Pooled multivariable analysis revealed that higher adherence to PDI was independently inversely associated with CHD (hazard ratio [HR] comparing extreme deciles, 0.92; 95 percent CI, 0.83 to 1.01; p=0.003 for trend). Such inverse relationship was more evident for healthful PDI (hPDI; HR, 0.75; 0.68 to 0.83; p<0.001 for trend).
On the other hand, there was a positive correlation between unhealthful PDI (uPDI) and CHD (HR, 1.32; 1.20 to 1.46; p<0.001 for trend).
In this study, researchers included 73,710 women in the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS; 1984 to 2012), 92,329 women in the NHS2 (1991 to 2013) and 43,259 men in Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986 to 2012) who were free of chronic disease at baseline to investigate the associations between PDI and CHD indices.
Researchers developed an overall PDI from repeated semiquantitative food-frequency questionnaire data by assigning positive scores to plant foods and reverse scores to animal foods.
They also developed the hPDI, in which healthy plant foods (whole grains, fruits/vegetables, nuts/legumes, oils, tea/coffee) received positive scores while less-healthy plant foods (juices/sweetened beverages, refined grains, potatoes/fries, sweets) and animal foods received reverse scores.
To develop the uPDI, positive scores were given to less-healthy plant foods and reverse scores to animal and healthy plant foods.
“Plant-based diets are recommended for CHD prevention,” researchers said. “However, not all plant foods are necessarily beneficial for health.”