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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Can certain foods have a protective and preventative effect against cardiovascular disease?

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    Prof David Colquhoun

    Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

    Associate Professor David Colquhoun is a cardiologist who has been in private practice in Queensland for more than 30 years. He has been involved in … View Profile

    Yes. There is no doubt that there are five factors we call lifestyle factors, which explain two-thirds to three-quarters of coronary heart disease. One of these risk factors is food. This was first established in 1960 in the famous Seven Country Study – 10,000 men followed for now 30 years. Certain foods protect against heart disease and certain foods increase the risk.

    It revolves around the major modulator of cholesterol called saturated fat. These are in the fat that we get with meat products, particularly delicatessen meats. If we look at the fat, not necessarily from milk per se, but when look at butter and cream, these are particularly rich in the bad fats as well, such as coconut oil, etc.

    Now on the other side, we see foods which have clearly been related to lower rates of heart disease. These are whole grain foods, such as multi-grain breads, and fruits and vegetables. A nut-enriched diet, where we increase the fat content of the diet with macadamia nuts, lowers serum cholesterol. There have now been 40 studies that have shown this.

    So it goes on and on. A healthy diet is extremely important.

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