If you’re considering increasing your vegetable intake for heart health, you may prefer to eat them raw rather than cooked. A new study has found that eating more raw vegetables is associated with better cardiovascular health outcomes.
Researchers from the UK and Hong Kong analyzed vegetable consumption data from 399,586 adults registered with Biobank in the UK. The average age of the participants was 56 and they had never been diagnosed with heart disease. During the 12-year follow-up period, they experienced a total of 18,052 major cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and strokes, and 4,406 cardiovascular deaths.
Overall, they ate an average of 2.3 TB (one tablespoon) of raw vegetables and 2.8 TB of cooked vegetables per day. When comparing those with the highest and lowest vegetable intakes, raw vegetables reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by 11% and death from heart attack and stroke by 15%. Cooked vegetables showed no heart-related benefits.
The researchers also found that many of the protective effects of raw vegetables were linked to differences in participants’ overall health, lifestyle, and socioeconomic status. For those who ate raw vegetables, this means that factors other than vegetables had an effect. For example, participants who ate the most raw vegetables tended to attend college, avoid smoking, exercise more, seek treatment for cholesterol or high blood pressure, eat more fish and fruit and reduce their consumption of red and processed meat.
There is another explanation for the difference between cooked and raw vegetables. “Boiled vegetables are often eaten with oils or seasonings, so they can increase sodium intake and increase energy density, which may increase the risk of heart disease,” said Noor Makarim, a professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Cambridge in Colombia. “The cooking process can also alter the rate of digestion, absorption and bioavailability of nutrients,” he added.
“This study doesn’t mean that cooked vegetables aren’t good for the body or a heart-healthy diet,” said Alice Lichtenstein, a professor of nutrition at Tufts University who was not involved in the study. Estimating the effects of individual foods rather than overall eating habits can be misleading.
“We all need to eat more, whether it’s raw vegetables or vegetables cooked in different ways, such as steamed, mashed or fried,” said Samantha Heller, clinical nutritionist at Rangoon Medical Center. from New York University, which was not involved. in the study.
The study was published in The Frontiers of Nutrition. The original title is “Consumption of raw and cooked vegetables and risk of cardiovascular disease: a study of 400,000 adults in the UK Biobank”.
Reporter Lee Bo Hyun together @ kormedi.com
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