A vegetable-based diet, particularly if you eat in the evening, has a protective effect on the heart. In terms of cardiovascular health, in addition to quantity, the quality of food and the time of day when food is consumed also count. To investigate this aspect, a group of Chinese researchers from the Harbin University of Science and Technology (in the northernmost province of China) analyzed the data of a large US study carried out on about 28 thousand people followed for 15 years. The study, recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, promotes the ingredients of the Mediterranean diet – fruits, vegetables, whole foods, extra virgin olive oil – but also emphasizes the importance of the right choices at dinner.
The researchers essentially compared the evening meal with those of the rest of the day: breakfast, lunch and between meals, finding that people who favor good quality carbohydrates (unrefined, whole-grain) and vegetable proteins at dinner have a reduced cardiovascular risk. 10% compared to people who eat mainly low-quality carbohydrates (refined sugars, sugary drinks, sweets) and animal proteins (meat). More specifically, a strong consumption of refined sugars at dinner increases the risk of angina by 63% and the risk of heart attack by 47% compared to limited consumption.
The same trend is found with the high consumption of animal proteins in the evening, with a 44% increase in the risk of coronary heart disease and 44% of angina. On the contrary, unsaturated fatty acids have a protective effect against stroke.