Plant-based Diet Linked to Reduced Risk of CVD
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According to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, consuming a plant-based diet is linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) during young to middle adulthood.
Participants were 4,946 adults in the CARDIA (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults) prospective study. They were initially 18 to 30 years old and free of CVD (1985–1986, exam year [year 0]) and followed until 2018. Diet was assessed by an interviewer‐administered, validated diet history. Plant‐centered diet quality was assessed using the A Priori Diet Quality Score (APDQS), in which higher scores indicated higher consumption of nutritionally rich plant foods and limited consumption of high‐fat meat products and less healthy plant foods.
In this 32‐year prospective cohort study, which followed participants since young adulthood, long‐term consumption of a plant‐centered, high‐quality diet that also incorporates subsets of animal products was associated with a 52 percent lower risk of incident CVD. Furthermore, an increase in plant‐centered diet quality over 13 years was associated with a 61 percent lower risk of incident CVD in the subsequent 12 years.
Proportional hazards models estimated hazard ratios of CVD associated with both time‐varying average APDQS and a 13‐year change in APDQS score (difference between the year 7 and year 20 assessments). During the 32‐year follow‐up, 289 incident CVD cases were identified. Both long‐term consumption and a change toward such a diet were associated with a lower risk of CVD. Multivariable‐adjusted hazard ratio was 0.48 (95 percent CI, 0.28–0.81) when comparing the highest quintile of the time‐varying average ADPQS with lowest quintiles. The 13‐year change in APDQS was associated with a lower subsequent risk of CVD, with a hazard ratio of 0.39 (95 percent CI, 0.19–0.81) comparing the extreme quintiles. Similarly, strong inverse associations were found for coronary heart disease and hypertension‐related CVD with either the time‐varying average or change APDQS.
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