Heart disease: The food ‘significantly’ associated with a reduced risk – ‘75% lower’

Dr Chris on the link between paracetamol and heart disease

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Signs of heart disease include chest pain, chest tightness, chest pressure and chest discomfort. Heart disease includes conditions that narrow or block blood vessels. This can lead to a heart attack, angina and some strokes. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk.

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition notes soy food intake has been shown to have beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease risk factors.

The researchers examined the relationship between soy food intake and incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD) among participants in the Shanghai Women’s Health Study.

This was a population-based prospective cohort study of around 75,000 Chinese women aged 40 to 70 years.

Included in this study were 64,915 women without previously diagnosed CHD, stroke, cancer and diabetes.

Information on usual intake of soy foods was obtained at baseline through an in-person interview using a validated food frequency questionnaire (FFQ).

The FFQ included tofu, soy milk, fried bean curd, bean curd cake and other soy products, covering virtually all soy foods consumed in urban Shanghai.

It says: “In this population-based, prospective cohort study, we found a significant inverse association between soy food intake and risk of CHD.

“Women in the highest quartile of soy protein intake had a 75 percent lower risk of total CHD,”.

It adds: “The observed inverse association of soy food intake with CHD risk is biologically plausible.”

It says this is because soy food intake improves serum lipid and lipoprotein profiles, and these beneficial effects have led to an approval of health claims on food labels by the US FDA.

The researchers concluded: “In summary, we found in this large prospective cohort study that soy food consumption was significantly and inversely associated with the risk of CHD among Chinese women.

“Our study provides the strongest argument to date for the recommendation made by the American Heart Association to increase soy food intake to promote heart health.”

There are around 7.6 million people living with heart and circulatory diseases in the UK, according to the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

The charity suggests that with an ageing and growing population and improved survival rates from heart and circulatory events, we could see these numbers rise still further.

The BHF states: “A healthy diet can help reduce your risk of developing coronary heart disease and stop you gaining weight, reducing your risk of diabetes and high blood pressure.”

If you currently eat more than 90g (cooked weight) of red or processed meat a day, the Department of Health and Social Care advises that you cut down to 70g.

The BHF says that too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which can increase the risk of developing coronary heart disease.

It adds: “Eating too much salt can increase the risk of developing high blood pressure. Having high blood pressure increases the risk of developing coronary heart disease.”

Moreover, if you drink alcohol, the BHF says it is important to keep within the recommended guidelines – whether you drink every day, once or twice a week or just occasionally.

Currently, the BHF says that healthcare costs relating to heart and circulatory diseases are estimated at £9 billion each year.

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