Plant-based foods are known to be good for the heart. Are there any foods in particular that lower cholesterol and keep this vital organ strong and healthy? Yes, suggests a new study. In fact, there are four main foods whose heart benefits have been proven by several controlled trials. Instead, it may be better to selectively eat a few foods that decrease the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is also known as the “bad” cholesterol.
Now, the European Association for the Study of Diabetes have commissioned a meta-analysis of all the evidence available to assess and summarize the benefits of the Portfolio diet for preventing cardiovascular disease. The first author of the new paper is Laura Chiavaroli, from the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto in Canada, and the findings were published in the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases.
Specifically, the Portfolio diet recommends a daily intake of 42 grams of nuts, 20 grams of soluble fiber, 2 grams of plant sterols, and 50 grams of plant protein. The amounts are based on a daily consumption of 2,000 calories. Chiavaroli and colleagues examined randomized and non-randomized controlled trials that studied the effect of this dietary pattern “in comparison to any energy-matched diet that did not provide components of the Portfolio diet.”
The authors conclude, “Current evidence demonstrates that the Portfolio dietary pattern leads to clinically meaningful improvements in [LDL cholesterol] as well as other established cardiometabolic risk factors and estimated 10-year coronary heart disease risk.” Study co-author Dr. Hana Kahleova, Ph.D. — the director of clinical research for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine — comments on the findings.