Modest consumption of junk food won’t harm your heart if you eat largely a Mediterranean diet consisting of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, according to researchers from the University of Auckland.
Researchers found that people who stuck mostly to a Mediterranean diet but who ate one or two portions of chips, candy, soda, or red meat still had a lower risk of heart problems and stroke.
Healthy foods appear to have a protective effect when it comes to eating junk food, reports The Telegraph.
Professor Ralph Stewart, from Auckland City Hospital, University of Auckland, New Zealand, who led the study, explained: “The main message is that some foods – and particularly fruit and vegetables – seem to lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes, and this benefit is not explained by traditional risk factors such as good and bad cholesterol or blood pressure.”
“If you eat more of these foods in preference to others, you may lower your risk. The study found no evidence of harm from modest consumption of foods such as refined carbohydrates, deep fried foods, sugars and deserts.
“The research suggests we should place more emphasis on encouraging people with heart disease to eat more healthy foods, and perhaps focus less on avoiding unhealthy foods.”
Balance is the key factor.
Stewart added, “After adjusting for other factors that might affect the results, we found that every one unit increase in the Mediterranean Diet Score was associated with a seven percent reduction in the risk of heart attacks, strokes or death from cardiovascular or other causes in patients with existing heart disease.
“In contrast, greater consumption of foods thought be less healthy and more typical of Western diets, was not associated with an increase in these adverse events, which we had not expected.”
The study was published in the European Heart Journal and included data from 15,482 people with stable coronary artery disease.