Do you know that your eating habits affect your heart health? Studies suggest that the diet of older adults can influence the development of heart attacks, strokes, and many other diseases. Lead researcher from the Auckland City Hospital in New Zealand, Dr. Ralph Stewart, noted that eating healthy foods can provide protective benefits to the body. But this does not mean avoiding unhealthy foods altogether. The study suggests that while eating healthy foods can give more health benefits, consumption of unhealthy foods in moderation do not seem to cause any harm to the body.
Balance Healthy and Unhealthy Foods
Most people grew up hearing the traditional dietary advice of avoiding unhealthy foods altogether. Recently, researchers have found out that what is more important to the human body is eating healthier foods more, than avoiding unhealthy food. In fact, with our current lifestyles, most of us do not eat a lot of healthy foods. Eating too much unhealthy as compared to healthy foods can tip off the balance in our diet, resulting in negative health repercussions.
To conduct the study, the researchers asked more than 15,000 participants from 39 countries to complete a questionnaire. All participants had symptoms of heart diseases and had the average age of 67-years-old. Participants were asked the kinds of foods that they ate and how many times they have consumed the food items within a week.
In this regard, those who followed the Mediterranean diet (those who consume the most amounts of healthy foods) should have shown better health. Unfortunately, 7% more of those who adhered to this diet suffered a stroke or heart attack compared to those who did not strictly follow the Mediterranean diet.
This does not mean, however, that people should just eat unhealthy food without restriction. Eating a balanced amount of healthy and unhealthy food is important. Researchers also suggest that eating unhealthy foods on some occasions, as a treat, is appropriate to retain good health.
Divided Consensus Amongst Experts
While the researchers from the Auckland City Hospital believe that the body can still be healthy by eating both healthy and unhealthy foods, many nutritionists disagree. Many experts believe that eating healthy foods is the only link to better health.
For example, the Mediterranean diet is all about eating yogurt, hummus, olive oil, garlic, fish, nuts, fruits, salads and other natural foods. In contrast with a Western diet that is characterized by eating big portions of food and a high intake of red meat, processed carbohydrates, and deep fried foods, people who follow the Mediterranean diet, have a lower risk of getting an autoimmune disease, heart disease, obesity, cancer, mental disorder, and diabetes.
Eating unhealthy and healthy foods together will discredit the positive effects of the latter. Many researchers noted that to get the full health benefits, eating a healthy diet is the only way to go. Unhealthy foods may be eaten but only on rare occasions. Unfortunately, nothing in any research shows the serving sizes of unhealthy and healthy foods that should be consumed by an average individual. The findings are still skewed with the lack of diet data.
Inspired by consumer.healthday.com