In developed countries, heart diseases like arrhythmia, coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction, etc., are considered the main reasons for mortality. Evidence has proved that these problems arise due to the population's lifestyle in such countries like less exercise, diet factors, etc. Heart diseases are predicted by the degree of endothelial damage that has occurred inside a patient. If actions are taken at the initial stages to work upon the regeneration of endothelium and better endothelial function, heart attacks and other heart diseases can be prevented.
A study was recently undertaken under the Project CVI – 7450, which was funded by the Department of Economics, Innovation, and Science, Andalusian Regional Government. Wherein, researchers studied 1002 patients with heart diseases, for a year, patients were monitored to see if they showed better conditions if the Mediterranean diet was taken compared to a low-fat diet. The research group had previously worked on such a study with healthy patients, however, this time, ill patients who had previously suffered myocardial infarction were taken.
Researchers compared the effects of two diets on the endothelium by making half of the patients follow a Mediterranean diet consisting of virgin olive oil, three servings of legumes, three nuts, and three fish in a week. They were asked to eat a good amount of fruits and vegetables every day. Patients were also asked to eat less meat, particularly red meat, and to stay away from fats such as butter and margarine, as well as food that had a high sugar level.
The rest of the patients were asked to follow a low-fat diet that limited their intake of fats both from animals and plants. They were encouraged to eat food that had complex carbohydrates and to cut down on red meat. The patients were to eat low–fat dairy products, and like the other half of the patients, they were asked to cut down on sweets.
The scientists then analyzed the patients’ arteries, which are considered to be important for a person as they help him adapt to different circumstances like when a person is exercising or when he is in a stressful situation. Then, they examined the degree to which the endothelium was damaged. At last, they assessed the reparation ability of the arteries by using endothelial progenitor or stem cells.
The research showed that patients who followed the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, were less likely to have another heart arrest. This diet was already considered good for improving endothelial function in patients who suffered from obesity or high cholesterol.
This research was the first of its kind and is an interesting development in the market of Congenital Heart Diseases Industry.
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