Heart attacks occur when a blockage in a coronary artery starves part of the heart muscle for blood and oxygen, and this may result from poor lifestyle decisions made over time.
The study found how a particular diet affects levels of the hormone ghrelin and belly fat, which equally affect heart attack risk.
Heart attack risk is largely influenced by lifestyle choices and diet as major factors.
While poor dietary decisions can increase the risk of fatal complications, choosing healthy alternatives can help stave off the threat.
A new study has found one of the best diets that can help improve cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of heart attacks.
The study indicates that levels of the “hunger hormone”, ghrelin, during fasting recover after significant weight loss reduces belly fat and helps improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin.
This procedure can also help reduce a person’s risk of a heart attack, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
Ghrelin is a stomach-derived hormone that stimulates appetite, with levels during fasting rising dramatically when a person is asleep.
The 18-month clinical trial study found that those with higher levels of fasting ghrelin had a reduced risk of developing diabetes and other metabolic diseases.
Research previously showed that a Mediterranean-style diet can reduce the risk of another heart attack.
The study delved deeper into these findings and found that individuals who followed the green Mediterranean diet had a two-fold greater increase in fasting ghrelin levels, resulting in improved cardiovascular benefits.
The Green-MED diet includes green leafy vegetables called Mankai and green tea and neglects red meat consumption.
“The results suggest that fasting ghrelin levels may serve as a valuable predictor of cardiovascular health after weight loss,” said senior study author Iris Shay, of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba, Israel and Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts.
Shay and colleagues examined fasting ghrelin levels in 294 participants over an 18-month period.
During the experiment, participants with either abdominal obesity or dyslipidemia, a condition with abnormally high cholesterol or fats in the blood, chose one of three diets: following healthy dietary guidelines, a Mediterranean diet or A green version of the Mediterranean diet that used plant-based protein and no red meat.
People following a green Mediterranean diet had fasting ghrelin levels twice as high as those who followed a traditional Mediterranean diet, improving heart health.
“The rise in ghrelin levels during fasting may help explain why the Mediterranean diet improved the microbiome, reduced liver fat, and improved cardiovascular health more than the other diets in our study,” Shay explained.
The Mediterranean diet contains more plant matter and very little red meat or poultry, which may also be a reason for better cardiovascular and metabolic health compared to the traditional version of the Mediterranean diet.
The diet is believed to help improve heart health due to its high dietary intake of polyphenols, phytosterols, “healthy” fats and fiber, and low intake of animal protein.
Risk factors for cardiovascular and metabolic disease also improve for those who follow the green Mediterranean diet, with other health benefits including lower diastolic blood pressure, insulin resistance, reduced inflammation and lower cholesterol.