Early Heart Disease Linked to Lack of Access to Fresh Food, Study Finds
Researchers studying heart health have found that where you live may influence whether you develop heart disease later in life. Their findings were published in the latest edition of Circulation.
Heart Health Depends on Access to Healthy Food
The research team, based at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, surveyed 5,950 adults from a range of ethnic backgrounds. Research analyzed whether having access to a wide range of fresh foods near their home – as opposed to being limited to high-calorie, highly processed foods with little nutritional value – influenced the heart health of the participants. Each study participant had an initial heart CT scan and additional scans over a 12-year follow-up period.
The study found that the availability of fresh food within one mile of their homes was key to the condition of the participants’ arteries at the conclusion of the study period. Those with close access to healthy food stores had healthier hearts. Researchers theorize that greater access to healthy foods promoted healthier diets and, as a result, less calcium build-up in the coronary arteries.
Results from the study provide added evidence that neighborhoods should devote resources to ensuring residents have access to fresh, healthy food at an affordable price.
Heart-Healthy Diet Recommendations
The American Heart Association advises that people eat nutritious foods from all food groups for optimum health. The most nutritious foods have protein, whole grains, minerals and other nutrients and are low in calories. They can help you control your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol. A healthy diet should include:
- A variety of vegetables and fruits
- Whole grains
- Skinless poultry and fish
- Low-fat dairy products
- Nuts and legumes
- Non-tropical vegetable oils
Consumption of saturated and trans fats, red meat, sodium, sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages should be limited.
Better Heart Health Starts at RediClinic
If you have concerns about your health due to your lifestyle, or a personal or family history of heart problems, visit RediClinic health clinic. Our board-certified clinicians can guide you as you take steps to reduce your risk of heart disease, beginning with a comprehensive health screening to evaluate your health numbers and plan for prevention. Make an online appointment or walk in today!