Combo of Plant-based Diet and Fasting May Aid Heart

There are so many different diet fads floating around that it can be hard to know what’s best. Everyone is different. That’s why it’s so important to speak to your doctor. Someone who knows you and your needs can advise you or put you in touch with a nutritionist to help you make the best choices.

Sometimes a combination of options can be best. Avoiding meat is generally viewed as an excellent first step for heart health as it is high in fat. Processed meat is even worse. Plant-heavy diets are great and filled with vitamins and nutrients. Dr. Pam Taub, founder and director of Step Family Cardiac Wellness and Rehabilitation Center, believes that eating a balanced plant-based diet combined with time restrictions can aid heart health and lower the risk of heart disease.

The cornerstone of one’s diet should be plant-based with vegetables and fruits, and avoidance of processed foods and red meats,” Dr. Taub said. “For carbohydrates, whole grains are a good way to obtain them.”

While she agreed with the evidence that the Mediterranean diet and DASH are excellent for heart health, they don’t always fit with a person’s personal taste or cultural background. She stressed the importance of finding a diet that worked for each person individually.

She also examined the evidence on intermittent fasting. The practice of only eating in a 10-hour window each day has been shown to lower weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. It also aids sleep quality. There’s the added benefit that you don’t have to follow a diet like DASH or the Mediterranean diet: you can eat your own healthy diet, just to this pattern.

Because you’re aligning eating with your body’s circadian rhythm, it makes good physiological sense, and there aren’t side effects or adverse events that we’ve seen in our studies on time-restricted eating,” she said.

By combining eating in a timed window and sticking to a healthy plant-based diet, you could have a one-two punch for a healthier heart. Changing eating patterns is often more achievable and easier to maintain than a diet. While more research is needed, this might be a great way to promote better health while not making massive changes. Cutting back on meat can be a significant change depending on your current diet. But, it may be smaller than switching how you eat entirely.

Before making any large changes, you should speak to your doctor. While eating within a timed window may be great in studies, it might not be suitable for everyone. If you are taking timed medication that must be taken with food, it might not work out. Speak to your doctor and see if this could be a good move for your heart!  

Banner image: Randy Fath via Unsplash

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