London: Want to live longer with a healthy heart? Start consuming vitamin D-rich food as researchers have found that consuming foods high in vitamin D can have heart-protective effects.
Vitamin D is a nutrient found in some foods that is needed for health and to maintain strong bones. It does so by helping the body absorb calcium (one of bone's main building blocks) from food and supplements.
Some food items that are high in vitamin D are salmon fish, herring and sardines, cheese, cod liver oil, canned tuna, egg yolks, mushrooms and fortified foods.
People who get too little vitamin D may develop soft, thin, and brittle bones, a condition known as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.
The current study, published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, aimed to evaluate the association between dietary vitamin D intake and 10-year first fatal or nonfatal cardiovascular disease (CVD), conventional CVD risk factors and surrogate markers related to inflammation, coagulation, insulin resistance, liver and renal function.
The research from Harokopio University was conducted during 2001-2012 and included 1,514 men and 1,528 women from the greater Athens area, in Greece.
According to the researchers, dietary assessment was based on a validated semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire.
Daily intake of vitamin D was calculated using a standardised food database.
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The research found that in the lowest, middle, and highest categories of vitamin D intake, cardiovascular events (such as heart attacks and strokes) occurred in 24 per cent, 17 per cent, and 12 per cent of men and 14 per cent, 10 per cent, and 11 per cent of women.
In contrast with vitamin D supplementation trials that have shown modest to neutral beneficial effects on heart health, this study revealed that increased vitamin D intake from food sources may protect against heart-related problems, especially in men.