Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fruit, vegetable, and fish consumption good for your heart?

Brand new, bleeding edge research that will be published in March! (Epub was Jan 21)

Fruit, vegetable, and fish consumption and heart rate variability: the VA Normative Aging Study.

Park SK, Tucker KL, O'Neill MS, Sparrow D, Vokonas PS, Hu H, Schwartz J. Departments of Environmental Health Sciences and the Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA.

BACKGROUND: Higher intakes of fruit, vegetables, and dark fish may prevent sudden cardiac death and arrhythmias, but the exact mechanisms are not fully understood.

OBJECTIVE: We examined whether high consumption of fruit, vegetables, and dark fish would be associated with beneficial changes in heart rate variability (HRV).

DESIGN: HRV variables were measured among 586 older men with 928 total observations from November 2000 to June 2007 in the Normative Aging Study, a community-based longitudinal study of aging. Dietary intake was evaluated with a self-administered semiquantitative food-frequency questionnaire and categorized into quartiles.

RESULTS: After controlling for potential confounders, intake of green leafy vegetables was positively associated with normalized high-frequency power and inversely associated with normalized low-frequency power (P for trend < style="font-weight: bold;">

CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that higher intake of green leafy vegetables may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease through favorable changes in cardiac autonomic function.

My Notes: HRV (Heart Rate Variability) is a way to measure the sympathetic (gas pedal) and parasympathetic (brake) of the heart. In general, standing on the gas pedal is bad. It is one method to perhaps measure a state of "health"
Once again fruits and veggies come out on top! I was surprised that fish oil did not have any effect.

There are mixed data currently with fish oil related to heart arrhythmias (bad heart stuff). I went to the Heart Rythms Society (HRS) conference in San Fran last May and there was an excellent presentation on the effects of fish oil on the heart. The researcher's conclusion was it currently seems to NOT help with electrical issues, but we really don't have a ton of data to draw from. My thoughts for now is that fish oil is still good, but as always check in with your doc first.

I am currently looking to see if commercially available energy drinks such as Monster Energy Drink have any effect on HRV. Time will tell.