(HealthDay News) — For middle-aged adults without preexisting cardiovascular disease, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables over eight weeks is associated with lower levels of markers for subclinical cardiac damage and strain, according to a study published online in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Stephen P. Juraschek, MD, PhD, from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues conducted an observational study based on specimens from a subpopulation of 326 participants of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) trial, which randomly assigned 459 middle-aged adults without known preexisting cardiovascular disease to 8 weeks of monitored feeding with a control diet typical of American eating patterns; a diet rich in fruits and vegetables but otherwise similar to the control diet; or the DASH diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and fiber, with low levels of saturated fat and cholesterol.

The researchers found that the fruit-and-vegetable diet reduced high sensitivity cardiac troponin I (hs-cTnI) levels by 0.5 ng/L and N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) levels by 0.3 pg/mL compared with the control diet. The DASH diet reduced hs-cTnI and NT-proBNP levels by 0.5 ng/L and 0.3 pg/mL, respectively, compared with the control diet. There was no difference noted in the levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein among diets. No difference was seen in any of the markers between the fruit-and-vegetable and DASH diets.

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“Our study shows that what we eat has an impact on cardiac damage and strain over 8 weeks,” the authors write.


Juraschek SP, Kovell LC, Appel LJ, et al. Associations Between Dietary Patterns and Subclinical Cardiac Injury: An Observational Analysis From the DASH Trial. Ann Intern Med. doi: 10.7326/M20-0336

Estruch R, Casas R, Ros E, et al. Eat Even More Vegetables and Fruits to Protect Your Heart. Ann Intern Med. doi: 10.7326/M20-2504

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