New research has found that the portfolio diet, a lesser-known heart-healthy diet, is linked to a decreased risk of heart attack and stroke. The diet focuses on four main groups that are proven to lower cholesterol: soluble fiber, soy protein, plant sterols, and nuts. Experts recommend patients choose whatever heart-healthy eating plan works best for them, as long as it’s sustainable and can be easily incorporated into their routine.
The portfolio diet is linked to a decreased risk of heart attack and stroke, according to a new study. The study, published by the American Heart Association, shows a connection between the portfolio diet and a decreased risk of heart disease and stroke. The diet aims to lower LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, which is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. It focuses on four main groups that are known to lower cholesterol: soluble fiber, soy protein, plant sterols, and nuts.
The diet encourages certain swaps, such as using soy milk as a dairy replacement and avocados and plant oils as butter alternatives. It also emphasizes the importance of soluble fiber, found in foods like oats, barley, lentils, beans, broccoli, eggplant, and psyllium, as it can bind cholesterol in the blood and promote its excretion.
The research team followed three large-scale studies and assessed participants’ food frequency questionnaires to understand how the portfolio diet impacts heart health. After more than 30 years of follow-up in over 200,000 individuals, they found that those with a higher Portfolio Diet Score (PDS) had a 14% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and stroke. The original trials showed that the diet can lower LDL cholesterol by almost 30%.
While the reductions seen through the portfolio diet are not as significant as those achieved through statin use, incorporating dietary changes in line with the diet may help lower disease risk. However, more research is needed before the portfolio diet can be recommended more widely for heart health.
To implement the portfolio diet, individuals can start with small, achievable swaps and focus on one aspect of the diet at a time. This could involve swapping out meat for a soy-based protein or adding a source of viscous fiber to the diet. The portfolio diet can be combined with other heart-healthy eating patterns, such as the Mediterranean and DASH diets, based on individual preferences and nutrition needs.
Overall, the key is to choose a heart-healthy eating plan that is sustainable and can easily be incorporated into one’s routine. Consulting a registered dietitian can provide personalized guidance and advice for individual nutrition needs.