Regularly eating processed foods can spell disaster for your health. Learn how ultra-processed foods could be damaging your heart.

According to research presented at ESC Congress 2021, eating ultra-processed food on a weekly basis increases your heart disease risk. From mass-produced bread to chicken nuggets, ultra-processed food refers to a wide range of food products. Some of these items, like instant noodles and breakfast cereals, are probably in your pantry right now.

However, the study shows a connection between heart attacks, strokes, and ultra-processed food – information that was previously limited. Specifically, the study examines the association between ultra-processed foods and developing/dying from cardiovascular disease within a 10-year period.

The Study

Ultra-Processed Foods Could Be Damaging Your HeartResearchers used data from the ATTICA prospective study that took place between 2001 and 2012 in Greece. All participants were adults free of heart disease at baseline. They were asked about the frequency and portion sizes of various foods and beverages consumed during the previous seven days.

Furthermore, researchers used a questionnaire meant to assess the level of adherence to a heart-healthy dietary pattern. Participants were given a score between 0 and 55; higher values meant better adherence to a healthy dietary pattern. Throughout the 10 years, researchers kept track of fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular events like heart attacks, strokes, arrhythmias, and more.

Results show that during the 10-year follow-up, 317 cardiovascular events took place.

Moreover, a higher intake of ultra-processed food consumption led to more incidences of cardiovascular events. 

In fact, for 7.5 servings, the incidence of cardiovascular disease was 8.1%, while for 18 servings, the incidence was 16.6%. With each additional weekly serving of ultra-processed food, the likelihood of cardiovascular disease increases by 10%.

Effects of the Mediterranean Diet

Participants with a low level of adherence to the Mediterranean diet had a more negative impact when eating ultra-processed foods. In these cases, each additional weekly serving of ultra-processed food led to a 19% higher likelihood of cardiovascular disease.

However, those with a moderate to high level of adherence to the Mediterranean diet had more positive results. They only had an 8% higher likelihood of cardiovascular disease with each additional weekly serving of ultra-processed food. Furthermore, for the latter group, the association was no longer significant.

“Evidence is accumulating for an association between ultra-processed foods and increased risks of several chronic diseases,” says Dr. Matina Kouvari. “Our study suggests that the detrimental relationship with cardiovascular disease is even stronger in those with a generally unhealthy diet.” Dr. Matina Kouvari of Harokopio University of Athens, Greece is one of the study authors.

The Outlook

l-arginine plusBy following a healthy eating plan like the Mediterranean diet and avoiding ultra-processed foods, you can greatly improve your health. In addition, you can take daily supplements like L-arginine Plus to boost your circulation, blood pressure health, and more.

It contains ingredients that promote nitric oxide, a natural molecule that relaxes your blood vessels and improves circulation. Give your health the support it needs and avoid ultra-processed foods, eat healthily, and take L-arginine Plus.