Food rich in vitamin D can protect against heart attack, stroke
London - We've always known that eating foods rich in vitamin D is good for our bones, teeth and muscles.
Now lovers of cheese, eggs and oily fish will be delighted to discover that they are just as good for the heart too.
Scientists have found that the foods may protect against a heart attack or stroke.
Crucially, they found that increasing the intake of vitamin D in food – rather than through supplements – is the best way to get the benefits. Additionally, the benefits were far more marked in men than in women.
A survey of more than 3 000 people over 11 years recorded the number of times a month they ate commonly consumed foods and drinks, and in what portions.
Fish and eggs were the participants’ primary sources of vitamin D, which is known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ as the body makes it when exposed to sunlight.
The results, published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, showed those with the highest vitamin D intake had the lowest risk of cardiovascular health problems such as a heart attack or stroke.
Men with the lowest vitamin D intake in their food had the highest risk, researchers found, but no significant trend was observed in the same group for women.
Previous studies of vitamin D supplements have shown they have little beneficial effect on heart health. Study author Matina Kouvari, of Harokopio University in Athens, said: "Consuming foods high in vitamin D may have heart-protective effects.
"In contrast with vitamin D supplementation, this study revealed that increased vitamin D intake from food sources may protect against heart-related problems, especially in men.
"To the best of our knowledge, the study is one of the very few to evaluate the separate association of vitamin D intake received exclusively from food."Daily Mail