The health benefits of eating extra fruits and vegetables are well established: for years, children have been told that an apple a day will keep the doctor away. But now, scientists have identified a diet promoting a much wider range of foods, including fish, poultry and nuts, that they say is much more effective at cutting the risk of heart attacks.
The Dash (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) dieting plan reduces the chances of suffering from heart disease by 18 per cent over 10 years, compared with an average American diet. People who simply up their consumption of fruits and vegetables see an 11 per cent decreased risk, a study shows.
The plan, also recommended by the American Heart Association, emphasises consumption of low-fat dairy products, whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts as well as fruits and vegetables. It also calls for a reduction in fats, red meat, sweets, and sugary drinks.
Dr Marilyn Glenville, a nutritionist, explained that the high intake of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts, combined with relatively low-fat dairy products and less sugar and red meats, would help to decrease the levels of cholesterol in the body. In turn, that would reduce the chances of heart disease, she said.