News Flash: Preventing Cardiovascular Diseases With Nutrition, and More Health News

Every week, we’re bringing you a roundup of the latest health and wellness news to hit the wire. This week, how preventing cardiovascular disease on a global scale requires three dietary shifts, how your fruit and veggie intake impacts your heart health, and how your lack of sleep and poor nutrition are linked.

How to lower your risk—and the global crisis—of cardiovascular disease

A new study by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, published in the journal Circulation, indicates that three simple public health interventions could prevent 94 million premature deaths from cardiovascular disease over a 25-year span. Lowering blood pressure, reducing sodium intake and eliminating trans fat from diets could “have a huge potential impact on cardiovascular health through 2040,” said lead author Goodarz Danaei, associate professor of global health at Harvard T.H. Chan School.

While researchers say these interventions would be a challenge, these types of health-care interventions are both attainable and affordable.

Another way you can lower your risk of death by heart disease and stroke? Eat your fruits and veggies. A new study by the American Society for Nutrition found that roughly 1 in 7 cardiovascular deaths were directly linked to a lack of fruit consumption while 1 in 12 were from not consuming enough vegetables. (In 2010, nearly 1.8 million cardiovascular deaths were a result of low fruit intake.)

“Fruits and vegetables are a modifiable component of diet that can impact preventable deaths globally,” said lead study author Victoria Miller, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. “Our findings indicate the need for population-based efforts to increase fruit and vegetable consumption throughout the world.”

A good source of fiber, potassium, antioxidants and more, fruits and veggies also help improve good bacteria in the gut, and those who consume more fruits and veggies are less likely to be overweight, another factor connected to the risk of cardiovascular disease. Researchers set the optimal fruit intake at 300 grams per day (or two small apples) and 400 grams of veggies—including legumes—per day, about 3 cups of carrots.

Poor sleep equals poor nutrition

If you’re not getting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended dose of more than seven hours of sleep per night, you’re not alone—and you’re probably under-consuming some necessary vitamins, minerals and micronutrients for optimal health.

New data from a study by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that U.S. adults who sleep fewer than seven hours a night also consumed lower amounts of vitamins A,D and B1, magnesium, calcium and other key nutrients—connecting the lower amounts of sleep with lower intakes of these critical nutrients. What’s more, the study found that women were more likely to be affected by poor sleep than men.

“This work adds to the body of growing evidence associating specific nutrient intakes with sleep outcomes,” said lead study author Chioma Ikonte, Ph.D., director of nutrition science at Pharmavite LLC. “Our findings suggest that individuals with short sleep duration might benefit from improving their intake of these nutrients through diet and supplementation.”

Photo credit: Xiaolong Wong, Unsplash