Heart attack risk is largely influenced by lifestyle choices and diet as key factors. While poor diet choices can increase your risk of developing the deadly complication, choosing healthy equivalents can help ward off the threat. A new study found that one of the best diets helps improve cardiometabolic benefits and reduce the risk of heart attack.
Fasting the “hunger hormone” ghrelin rebound after weight loss significantly reduces abdominal fat and helps to improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin.
This measure could also help lower a person’s risk of heart attack, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
Ghrelin is a stomach-derived hormone that stimulates appetite, with levels rising during night fasting when a person is sleeping.
The 18 million clinical study found that people with higher fasting ghrelin levels are at lower risk of developing diabetes and other metabolic diseases.
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Shai and colleagues examined fasting ghrelin levels in 294 participants over a period of 18 months.
During the study, participants with abdominal obesity or dyslipidemia – a condition with abnormally high levels of cholesterol or fat in the blood – were randomly assigned to one of three diets: the Healthy Eating Guidelines, the Mediterranean Diet, or a green version of the Mediterranean Diet, the Plant-based protein and red meat free.
Individuals who followed the Mediterranean Green Diet had ghrelin levels when fasting that were twice those who followed a traditional Mediterranean diet, which improves heart health.
“The rise in ghrelin levels during fasting may help explain why the green Mediterranean diet optimizes the microbiome, reduces liver fat, and improves cardiometabolic health more than the other diets in our study,” Shai said.
A green Mediterranean diet contains even more plant compounds and very little red meat or poultry, which can also be the cause of improved cardiovascular and metabolic health than the traditional version of the Mediterranean diet.
The diet is believed to contribute to improved heart health due to its higher intake of polyphenols, phytosterols, “healthy” fats and fiber, and lower intake of animal protein.
Cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors also improve with the Green Med diet.
With other health benefits including lowering diastolic blood pressure, insulin resistance, reducing inflammation, and lowering cholesterol.
“The results of our study suggest that fasting ghrelin is a major hormonal factor in the nutritional restoration of insulin sensitivity and the regression of visceral obesity or the reduction of belly fat,” added the study’s lead author, Gal Tsaban, and Ben’s cardiologist -Gurion University of the Negev and Soroka University Medical Center, Israel.
“The different diet-specific responses to increasing ghrelin levels during fasting could indicate a different mechanism by which different diets, such as the green Mediterranean diet, reduce cardiometabolic risk.”
Green tea consumption, found on the Green Med diet, also helps reduce a person’s risk of having a heart attack.