Heart failure used to be considered a one-way street toward infirmity, chronic illness, and ultimately death, in half of the cases, within five years. But a new study published this week shows that a plant-based diet can dramatically improve outcomes and even reverse symptoms in cases of heart failure, which is encouraging to say the least.
In the past, plant-based diets have been shown to improve the health of patients with heart disease, but this new research showed it can also improve the outcomes of patients with heart failure, by increasing blood flow, strengthening the heart’s ability to pump blood to the body and allowing patients to be more active, while “lessening the effects obesity, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and diabetes,” the report finds.
Heart Failure Affects More Than Half a Million People a Year in the US
“Annually, more than 550,000 people are diagnosed with heart failure in the US, and “half of them die within the first five years,” the authors report. That’s where intervention with a plant-based diet can make a difference. The authors looked back at data from studies from the year 2000 through March, 2020 and focused in on those patients with heart failure and risk factors for it. They then cross-checked patients who followed a diet that was either “vegetarian,” “vegan,” “plant-based diet,” and identified three studies used plant-based diets as interventions, and the results in all three studies reviewed were dramatic.
The third study measured whether patients who were put on a plant-based diet for 79 days, could change the outcome of congestive heart failure and again the improvements were dramatic. The patients showed a 92% improvement in blood flow from the heart, while the mass of their enlarged heart reduced in size 21%, a healthy sign. Their hearts’ ability to pump also improved by 62% as blood flow per “stroke” increased from 22 percent to 42.2 percent. These are significant improvements for patients who in the past would have been treated with medicine to try to achieve the same level of gains. Results of all three studies proved so dramatic that clinical care workers are being recommended to put heart failure patients on a plant-based diet.
“A number of small studies in the past 2 decades show a consistent positive clinical and risk factor improvements in patients with heart failure,” the study’s authors concluded. “These findings, although in small samples, can lead the way for more interventional studies with more rigorous design to shed more light on the effects of plant-based diet on heart failure as a clinical intervention.”The studies were a small base of 50 patients, and review studies are not considered as reliable as clinical trials, but the evidence all points to the fact that plant-based diets can lead to dramatic and measurable improvements among cardiac patients experiencing heart failure.