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High-Quality, Plant-Based Diet Tied to Lower Risk for CVD Mortality

THURSDAY, March 7, 2019 -- Increasing consumption of high-quality, plant-based foods decreases the risk for death from cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to a study presented at the American Heart Association Epidemiology and Prevention/Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health 2019 Scientific Sessions, held from March 5 to 8 in Houston.

Megu Y. Baden, M.D., Ph.D., from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues used data from 47,983 women (mean age, 63 years) participating in the Nurses' Health Study and 25,737 men (mean age, 63 years) participating in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. All had no history of CVD or cancer at baseline (1998).

The researchers found that compared with those participants whose diets remained relatively stable during the prebaseline 12-year period (1986 to 1998), the participants with the greatest increase in plant-based diet indices showed pooled hazard ratios for total mortality of 0.92 for an overall plant-based diet index (PDI), 0.90 for healthful PDI (hPDI), and 1.11 for unhealthful PDI (uPDI). A 10-point increase in hPDI was associated with a 10 percent lower risk for CVD-related mortality, while a 10-point increase in uPDI was associated with a 6 percent higher risk for CVD-related mortality. There was no significant association between changes in plant-based diet indices and subsequent risk for cancer-related mortality.

"Not all plant-based diets are equal, but boosting the intake of high-quality plant-based foods over time lowers the risk of death even among people who started off with poor-quality diets," Baden said in a statement.

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Posted: March 2019

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