Happy heart foods

A new review of evidence shows how fantastic plant foods are for your heart

A team of esteemed researchers looked at available scientific evidence about certain types of food and diets and their link to heart disease and stroke. Their findings were clear – plant-based diets with healthy sources of protein, such as pulses, nuts and seeds, fresh fruit and vegetables, and limited amounts of olive and rapeseed oils, promote heart health and should be encouraged. Saturated fats and cholesterol are to be avoided at all cost, which means no eggs, fatty and processed meat, dairy fats, fried foods, palm and coconut oil.

The study also warns against supplements with high amounts of antioxidants as these do not help, are no substitute for a healthy diet and high doses of some vitamins may cause harm.

Green leafy vegetables offer extra benefits for heart health and it’s recommended they be eaten on daily basis - think broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and watercress. Eating whole fruits and vegetables is encouraged but juicing is discouraged as it removes beneficial fibre and the nutrients bound to it. See the study’s main findings in the table below. 

Freeman AM et al., 2017. Trending Cardiovascular Nutrition Controversies. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 69 (9): 1172-1187.