Avoid Heart Failure With Whole Plant Foods
An estimated 5.7 million adults in the United States are currently battling with heart failure. For a person to be technically diagnosed with heart failure, it means his heart cannot pump enough blood to support other organs in the body, resulting in various symptoms, often (but not always) including fatigue, swelling in the ankles, shortness of breath, or sudden death. This "pump failure" problem arises from one or several factors, including this one: sometimes the walls of the ventricles (the part of the heart that pumps blood to the rest of the body) become too weak, causing less blood to be pumped out with each heart-beat.
Heart failure is responsible for around 11 million hospital visits each year and more hospitalizations than all forms of cancer combined. Approximately half of all heart failure patients die within 5 years of diagnosis, with heart failure contributing to over 250,000 deaths annually. Numerous risk factors (sleep apnea, high blood pressure, leaky heart valves, etc.) are associated with heart failure, but multiple studies have shown that making healthy lifestyle and dietary choices can help to greatly cut down the risk of developing this condition.
A study recently presented at the 2017 American Heart Association's Scientific Session Meeting in California shows that following a plant-based dietary pattern can decrease the risk of heart failure by up to 42%. Another study that investigated the relationship between the consumption of fruits and vegetables and the occurrence of heart failure revealed that a decline in heart failure risk was related to increased intake of fruits and vegetables in women. "Plant-based diets may be effective in treating and preventing heart failure," concluded the authors of a study titled "A Plant-Based Diet and Heart Failure: Case Report and Literature Review."
"Heart Failure is a scary term," says Maria Mountis, DO, a staff cardiologist in the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, USA. And deservedly so, as heart failure scares us because it causes about a quarter of a million deaths every year. However, an individual can place themselves in a great position to avoid heart failure by consistently eating generous portions of low fat whole plant foods. Increasing whole plant foods intake today can help to decrease heart failure risk tomorrow.
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