Walnuts, Green Tea, And Duckweed Diet Reduces Heart Disease
A Mediterranean diet with extra walnuts, green tea and the aquatic plant duckweed helps reduce heart disease, say researchers.
They carried out a trial with 300 participants over 18 months to compare the “green Mediterranean diet” with a standard Mediterranean diet (whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, and seeds) and a regular healthy diet.
The green Med volunteers ate an ounce of walnuts every day, and drank three to four cups of green tea, as well as a shake made from four ounces of frozen duckweed – which despite its off-putting name, is high in easily-digested protein, iron, B12, vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols (natural nutrients). The volunteers also reduced their red meat intake.
The research team, led by Prof. Iris Shai of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, found that those on the green Med diet experienced a regression in proximal aortic stiffness (PAS) – which precedes hypertension and is an indicator for heart disease and aging – by 15 percent.
This is compared with participants on the standard Med diet, whose PAS decreased by 7.3 percent, and participants on a regular healthy diet, whose PAS decreased by 4.8 percent.
Aortic stiffness measures the elasticity of the heart’s blood vessels, and occurs when the elastic fibers within the artery walls begin to fray due to mechanical stress. Proximal aortic stiffness refers to this occurring in the largest artery in the body that carries oxygen-rich blood away from the heart to other organs – the proximal-descending thoracic aorta.
Previous studies have shown that the green Mediterranean diet can also halt brain atrophy, and reduce dangerous build-ups of visceral fat, or fat wrapped around the organs.
“A healthy lifestyle is a strong basis for improving cardiometabolic (the chemical processes affecting the heart) health,” said Prof. Shai.
“We learned from the results of our experiment that the quality of the diet is crucial for mobilizing atherogenic adipose tissues (increasing plaque in arteries and increasing fatty tissue), lowering cardiometabolic risk, and improving one’s adiposity (too much fatty tissue) profile.
“Dietary polyphenols, substituting red meat with equivalent plant-based protein, show promise for improving various aspects of human health. However, to date, no dietary strategies have been shown to impact vascular aging physiology.”