Scientists admit that data on the benefits of vegetables for heart health is wrong

(ORDO NEWS) — The authors of a new major study concluded that the consumption of vegetables – especially in raw form – on the one hand, seems to help to avoid diseases of the cardiovascular system. However, it is possible that this apparent protective effect is due to bias.

Scientists from the Universities of Oxford and Bristol (UK), as well as the Chinese University of Hong Kong, have concluded that vegetable consumption is inversely associated with both the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and mortality from them. However, you need to eat them in their raw form, and you can’t ignore one thing that can destroy all the “evidence”.

The fact that the inclusion of a large number of vegetables rich in macro- and microelements in the diet is good for health is no secret: according to experts, in this way you can protect yourself from many adverse consequences, including cardiovascular diseases.

Insufficient vegetable intake is believed to be correlated with approximately one and a half million premature deaths each year from cardiovascular diseases alone. But little is known about the health benefits of cooked or raw vegetables. Previous studies have shown conflicting results.

The sample for the authors of the new work was the data of 399,586 participants of the British Biobank, who were followed for more than 12 years and collected detailed information: about general health, hospitalizations, medication, lifestyle, bad habits, and more.

The median age was 56.1 years, 55.4 percent were women and 90.9 percent were white. Less than half of the respondents (41.3%) had a high level of physical activity, 4.7% had diabetes.

On average, they ate five tablespoons of vegetables per day, but they preferred processed rather than raw food. Most often, vegetable lovers turned out to be women, educated people and residents of wealthy areas.

They had a lower body mass index (mean 27.3) and were less likely to smoke cigarettes. In total, scientists identified four groups of vegetable consumption: zero tablespoons per day (5304 people), one-two, three-four, and five or more.

Participants who experienced or died from cardiovascular disease in the first two years of follow-up were excluded from the analysis. In 12.1 years, 18,052 people were diagnosed with CVD, while 6,969 had a stroke. 13,398 people died, 2,589 deaths were caused by CVD.

According to the authors of the work, they found a clear inverse relationship between the development of such diseases and the overall level of consumption of raw vegetables, but not cooked. So, compared with people who did not eat them at all, those who ate at least five tablespoons a day, the incidence was reduced by 10%.

The consumption of raw vegetables specifically was inversely associated with the occurrence of CVD: for the highest level, the probability decreased by 11%. However, the presence of cooked vegetables in the diet did not affect this in any way.

“We noted a possible inverse relationship between raw vegetable consumption and stroke, although it was not statistically significant. There was no evidence of an association between accidental stroke and the consumption of specifically cooked vegetables, or in any form,” the researchers added.

In terms of protection against death due to CVD, consumption of two or more tablespoons daily was associated with a 17% lower risk of such outcomes. Although, as the scientists note, whether there was a trend at higher levels of consumption is unclear.

“Similarly, there was evidence of an inverse association between CVD mortality and raw vegetable consumption (risk was reduced by 15%), but little evidence of a trend. And we found no correlation between CVD mortality and cooked vegetables.

For all-cause mortality, there was a strong inverse relationship with vegetable consumption (daily one or more tablespoons of raw or cooked vegetables), with the trend increasing for raw vegetables,” the paper says.

All of the above reduced risk scores were obtained after adjusting for socioeconomic, dietary, lifestyle, and health-related factors, but these apparent effects were larger before adjustment (table can be viewed here ).

According to the authors of the study, if they were able to fully appreciate the role of “potentially confounding factors”, it would turn out that the identified association between vegetable consumption and reduced risk of CVD, heart attack and death from them is largely, if not entirely, a residual bias. .

However, the possibility of a true protective effect cannot be completely ruled out, the researchers emphasize. Therefore, apparently, additional scientific work will again be required, the authors of which should finally come to unambiguous conclusions.

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