Berkeley Fit Blog

2019-03-03 13:01:00

Can heart problems really be reversed with diet?

Nitric Oxide-potent vegetables, such as leafy greens and beets -- rich in inorganic nitrate -- lowered blood pressure as effectively as antihypertensive medication.

Other reports have suggested that the conversion of dietary inorganic nitrate from leafy greens to nitric oxide reverses cardio-metabolic problems, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and fatty liver.

Unfortunately, dietary adherence to nitrate-rich plant-based diets, rich in leafy greens, remains an obstacle. Data from major cohort studies suggest that 80% of cardiovascular disease and 91% of diabetes risk may be prevented by changes in diet and lifestyle. The scientific recommendations of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory committee advocate the therapeutic diet, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) and Mediterranean Diet. Yet despite efforts to encourage the public to increase plant food consumption of nitrate-rich foods, the response has been slow.

A randomized study published in the American College of Cardiology journal confirmed that adhering to diet recommendations lead to benefits in coronary heart disease risk factors but unfortunately, found that changing eating habits proved the most difficult. These data demonstrate the difficulty in effectively promoting fruit and vegetable to the general population, using recommendations that, when followed, decrease risk factors for chronic disease, the researchers wrote. They indicate an urgent need for innovative approaches to support the implementation of current dietary advice.