Nutrition and cardiovascular health

Silvia Berciano, José M Ordovás
Revista Española de Cardiología 2014, 67 (9): 738-47
A multitude of studies have been published on the relationship between cardiovascular disease risk and a variety of nutrients, foods, and dietary patterns. Despite the well-accepted notion that diet has a significant influence on the development and prevention of cardiovascular disease, the foods considered healthy and harmful have varied over the years. This review aims to summarize the current scientific evidence on the cardioprotective effect of those foods and nutrients that have been considered healthy as well as those that have been deemed unhealthy at any given time in history. For this purpose, we reviewed the most recent literature using as keywords foods and nutrients (ie, meat, omega-3) and cardiovascular disease-related terms (ie, cardiovascular diseases, stroke). Emphasis has been placed on meta-analyses and Cochrane reviews. In general, there is a paucity of intervention studies with a high level of evidence supporting the benefits of healthy foods (ie, fruits and vegetables), whereas the evidence supporting the case against those foods considered less healthy (ie, saturated fat) seems to be weakened by most recent evidence. In summary, most of the evidence supporting the benefits and harms of specific foods and nutrients is based on observational epidemiological studies. The outcome of randomized clinical trials reveals a more confusing picture with most studies providing very small effects in one direction or another; the strongest evidence comes from dietary patterns. The current status of the relationship between diet and cardiovascular disease risk calls for more tailored recommendations based on genomic technologies.


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