Friday November 15, 2019

Eat Peanuts, Chickpeas, to Lower Cholesterol and Improve Blood Pressure

It also helped reduce 10-year coronary heart disease risk by 13 per cent, the study said

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Snacks
New treatment shows promise against peanut allergy. Pixabay

Eating a diet that includes peanuts, chickpeas, apples and a little amount of plant sterols may lower cholesterol and improve blood pressure, new research has found.

The diet is based on the “Portfolio Diet,” which is a plant-based dietary pattern that emphasises a portfolio of four proven cholesterol-lowering foods.

“Previous clinical trials and observational studies have found strong evidence that a plant-based diet can improve heart health,” said one of the study authors, Hana Kahleova, Director of Clinical Research at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington DC.

“This study demonstrates that certain plant foods are especially effective for lowering cholesterol and boosting our overall cardiovascular health,” Kahleova added.

Chickpeas,
Chickpeas, Pixabay

The diet that the researchers found beneficial included 42 grams of nuts (tree nuts or peanuts), 50 grams of plant protein from soy products or dietary pulses (beans, peas, chickpeas, or lentils), 20 grams of viscous soluble fiber from oats, barley, psyllium, eggplant, okra, apples, oranges, or berries and two grams of plant sterols from supplements or plant-sterol enriched products per day.

The findings, published in the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, are based on a new meta-analysis, a statistical procedure that integrates the results of several independent studies.

Also Read: From Radio Signals A Pill Could Tell About Gut Health And Help Doctors

The results suggest that a diet that includes plant protein, fiber, nuts and plant sterols improves several markers for cardiovascular disease risk including reductions in cholesterol level and improvements in blood pressure.

Following the dietary pattern reduced LDL (low-density lipoprotein), the “bad” cholesterol by 17 per cent, while also reducing total cholesterol, triglcyerides, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure and C-reactive protein.

It also helped reduce 10-year coronary heart disease risk by 13 per cent, the study said. (IANS)

Next Story

Cholesterol Levels in US Dropping, Thanks to Changed Recommendations

But there is more to do

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Cholesterol, US, Recommendations
FILE - Tablets of Lipitor, a kind of statin used for lowering blood cholesterol, are seen in Glen Rock, N.J., Nov. 15, 2005. VOA

Some good health news: Americans’ cholesterol levels are dropping, and more people at especially high risk are getting treatment.

Researchers say Monday’s report suggests a controversial change in recommendations for cholesterol treatment may be starting to pay off.

“It is very heartening,” said Dr. Pankaj Arora of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who led the study. “But there is more to do.”

Heart disease is the world’s leading killer and high cholesterol is a key risk factor — but not the only one. Doctors long treated patients based mostly on their level of so-called “bad” cholesterol, whether they had other risks or not. In 2013, national guidelines urged them instead to focus more on people’s overall heart risk, by taking into account age, blood pressure, diabetes and other factors. Those at highest risk would get the most benefit from cholesterol-lowering statin drugs.

Cholesterol, US, Recommendations
Researchers say Monday’s report suggests a controversial change in recommendations for cholesterol treatment may be starting to pay off. Pixabay

The Alabama team examined records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that tracked cholesterol information from more than 32,000 adults between 2005 and 2016.

Among people taking cholesterol medication, the average level of that “bad” cholesterol — what’s known as LDL cholesterol — dropped 21 points over the study period, the researchers reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. It was declining even before the 2013 guidelines but continued to inch down afterward.

Total cholesterol levels and another fat known as triglycerides likewise decreased.

“These are surprisingly impressive results” that together predict a 15% to 20% reduction in risk of heart attacks and strokes, said Dr. Michael Miller, preventive cardiology chief at the University of Maryland Medical Center, who wasn’t involved with the study.

Also Read- Pneumonia Kills More than 2K Children Daily, despite Being Preventable, Curable

High-risk groups

Moreover, there was an uptick in statin use by people with diabetes over the study period, from less than half to over 60% getting one. Diabetics are particularly vulnerable to heart attacks and tend to have poorer outcomes.

“It’s very important for those with a diagnosis of diabetes to not get that first heart attack,” said Dr. Neil J. Stone, a cardiologist at Northwestern University. He led development of the 2013 guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association, and he co-authored an update last year.

Arora cautioned that other high-risk groups haven’t seen an increase in treatment — and that still too many Americans don’t know if they have a cholesterol problem.

Cholesterol, US, Recommendations
“It is very heartening,” said Dr. Pankaj Arora of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who led the study. Pixabay

The advice for consumers? If you haven’t had a cholesterol check recently, get one, Miller said.

Also Read- It’s Time To Save Endangered Gorillas

Testing is easier than ever, as fasting no longer is required. Especially if you have additional risk factors, high cholesterol should spark a frank conversation about diet, exercise, and the pros and cons of statins. (VOA)