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Paleo diet may prevent heart disease

Tuesday 6th September 2016
A caveman-style diet may help to prevent heart disease, a new study suggests. Image credit: Magone via iStock
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Dieticians will be interested to learn that the Paleo diet has been proven to help reduce people's risk of developing heart disease following a recent study.

Research carried out at the University of Houston, Texas found that people who followed the Paleo eating plan were able to improve the level of interleukin-10 (IL-10) in their systems, reducing their risk of suffering a heart attack or being diagnosed with cardiovascular disease as a result.

The Paleo diet is also known as the caveman diet, as it is designed to emulate the diet that our ancestors would have followed thousands of years ago, meaning it is rich in meat, fish, seeds, fruit, vegetables and plant-based oils, and shuns processed foods completely.

However, it has attracted a great deal of controversy from some critics, who have argued that our ancestors rarely reached the age of 40, so this cannot be a healthy diet to follow.

But the new US research shows that people who swap a Western diet prevalent in processed foods and carbohydrates for a Paleo-style eating plan can improve their health and wellbeing, reducing their risk of heart disease along the way.

People with lower levels of IL-10 in their blood are known to be at greater risk of cardiovascular problems, but by following a Paleo diet, IL-10 levels were increased among participants by an average of 35 per cent. 

As a result, this adds weight to the theory that a largely plant-based diet featuring some meat and fish can play a key role in reducing heart disease risk.

Study author Chad Dolan commented: "If our research continues to show that the Paleo diet produces detectable changes in healthy individuals, it will substantiate claims made by those supporting this diet for the past few decades and provide preliminary evidence for another therapeutic strategy for cardiovascular disease and coronary artery disease prevention."

Written by Martin Lambert

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