There are many types of inflammation in the human body. There are also many causes, some of which are known and some of which remain a mystery. Certainly you are familiar with the term “you are what you eat.” It turns out that foods that cause inflammation are twice as likely to send heart failure patients to the hospital or die versus those who eat foods which help to reduce inflammation.
The American Heart Association (AHA) has recently issued new guidance regarding heart failure patients and cutting pro-inflammatory foods that they consume. Their view is that diet plays a role in regulating inflammation. Hence, you are what you eat!
And in considering just how important this may be, the AHA estimates that some 6.2 million U.S. adults suffer from various degrees of heart failure.
A study from the University of Kentucky in Lexington evaluated more than 200 heart failure patients’ diets for 4 days. After creating an index to scores foods based on increasing or decreasing inflammation, and then following those patients for a year, those with diets that had higher inflammatory scores were shown to be more than twice as likely to die or be hospitalized versus those with lower inflammatory scores.
While many people may know this, or who may choose to ignore this, the AHA points out specific foods that increase inflammation: red meat, refined grains and high-fat dairy products. Other inflammation villains included processed meats, refined carbohydrates, foods high in cholesterol, sodium and sweetened drinks.
As the Inflammation Guide is about informing and empowering people who suffer from inflammation, maybe its best to focus on the good side of the equation. The AHA’s list of foods shown to decrease inflammation included olive oil, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. have been shown to lower it. The Mediterranean diet (including fish and poultry) and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet were also noted.
While the research is to be considered preliminary, until it is published in a peer-reviewed journal, this is just one more marker pointing toward certain foods contribution to heart disease and stroke.
Those who want additional information regarding the prevention of cardiovascular disease, the AHA has a report from 2019 prepared with the American College of Cardiology offers far more detail on the matter.