Nutrition – A Cornerstone of Preventative Care
Cardiovascular disease remains one of the leading cause of non-communicable diseases in the world. Inadequate nutrition contributes significantly to this problem. The recent PURE study adds interesting research to this issue. The PURE (Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology cohort) study showed that even moderate consumption of fruits, vegetables and legumes was associated with significant reductions in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The authors felt that this modest amount of fruits, vegetables and legumes led to an improved health benefit. Whereas many similar studies and results have been seen in high income countries, the PURE study was done in 18 countries, across the world, including middle to lower income countries. Interestingly, the results also suggested increased mortality with excessive carbohydrates but this was thought to be associated with processed foods, not increases in fruits, vegetables and legumes. As with many nutritional studies, there were challenges with this project, including understanding the impact that the other health habits and socioeconomic differences contributed to the study.
A diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and legumes should be a primary goal of the overall healthy eating pattern. Increasing education to the public and government initiatives to increase affordability and access to all are essential. As medical providers, we can promote healthy diets to our patients, local government and other decision makers in this process.
Miller, V. et al. Fruit, vegetables, and legume intake and cardiovascular disease and deaths in 18 countries (PURE Study): A prospective cohort study, Lancet, 2017.
Toledo, E., et al. Fruits, vegetables and legumes: sound prevention tools, Lancet, 2017.