Diets high in red and processed meat, refined grains, and sugary beverages, which have been linked to increased inflammation in the body, can increase subsequent risk of heart disease and stroke compared to diets filled with anti-inflammatory foods, reports a new study. The findings of the study are published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Chronic inflammation has been shown to play an essential role in the development of heart disease and stroke. Certain inflammatory biomarkers, like chemokines, interleukins, and adhesion molecules, have been linked to atherosclerosis's early and late stages. Previous investigations have found that diet can impact inflammation levels, but few healthy dietary patterns, like the Mediterranean diet, have shown reduce concentrations of some inflammatory biomarkers and lower heart disease risk.
Researchers used both men and women from the Nurses' Health Studies I and II starting from 1986 and included up to 32 years of follow up. After excluding members with missing diet information or previously diagnosed stroke, heart disease, or cancer, more than 210,000 participants were included in the study. The participants completed a survey every four years to determine dietary intake.
The researchers suggested consuming foods with higher levels of antioxidants and fiber to help fight inflammation: Green leafy vegetables, yellow vegetables, whole grains, coffee, tea, and wine. The researchers also suggested restricting the intake of refined sugars and grains, sodas, fried foods, and restricting processed, red, and organ meat. These foods are among the significant contributors to the proinflammatory dietary index.