Coronary heart disease is one of the major causes of death among elderly people. To reduce the risk of developing this disease, many healthcare professionals suggest changes in dietary habits to make it more balanced. A group of researchers from Jagiellonian University Medical College and Cracow Higher School of Health Promotion evaluated the antioxidant and fat intake of elderly individuals without cardiovascular diseases and determined the potential effects of these factors on health.
The recommended diet for the prevention of coronary heart disease should include non-hydrogenated unsaturated fats, carbohydrates from whole grains, fruits and vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants.
Antioxidants, which are abundantly found in vegetables, fruits, and tea, are associated with reduced risk for cardiovascular disease because of its ability to reduce free radicals and oxidative damage in organ tissues.
Free radicals can increase the occurrence of coronary heart disease by interfering with the signaling pathways involved in regulating the heartbeat and myocardium remodeling, which could lead to higher mortality risk due to endothelium dysfunction.
In this study, which was published in the Annals of Agricultural and Environmental Medicine, the researchers assessed the dietary antioxidant index of 143 elderly participants through monthly food frequency questionnaires that classified foods into nine major groups. These classifications included the following: fruits and dried fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, grains and cereal-based products, seafood, mixed dishes, oil and dips, sweets, beverages.
Dietary fat intake and the frequency of fat consumption were also determined through daily interviews and monthly food frequency questionnaires.
From the results of the study, the researchers were able to determine that the participants had a very low intake of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. The participants also exceeded the recommended consumption of total fats and saturated fatty acids, which were generally consumed from animal fats and not healthy food sources like fish, nuts, and vegetable oil. Although the study was limited to dietary assessment, it can still be determined that improving dietary habits is helpful in preventing and treating cardiovascular diseases.
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Kolarzyk E, Skop-Lewandowska A, Jaworska J, Ostachowska-G?sior A, Krzeszowska-Rosiek T. DIETARY INTAKE OF ANTIOXIDANTS AND FATS IN THE CONTEXT OF CORONARY HEART DISEASE PREVENTION AMONG ELDERLY PEOPLE. Annals of Agricultural and Environmental Medicine. February 2017;25(1). DOI: 10.5604/12321966.1233574