Jan. 16 (UPI) -- A heart healthy diet may not only help with cardiovascular health, it could also stave off the risk of diabetes.
People who adhered to at least four of the seven factors of American Heart Association's Life's Simple 7 guide for heart health cut their risk of developing diabetes by 70 percent, according to research published Tuesday in Diabetologia.
"This research adds to our collective understanding about how physicians can help their patients prevent a number of serious diseases, including heart disease, cancer and now diabetes," said Dr. K. Craig Kent, dean of the College of Medicine at Ohio State University.
Life's Simple 7 health factors and lifestyle behaviors that promote good cardiovascular health include blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, diet, physical activity, tobacco use and weight.
The researchers launched the study to examine how cardiovascular health can positively affect diabetes. They determined that adopting a heart healthy diet in the pre-diabetes stage works best in fighting off the condition.
"What's interesting is when we compared people who had normal blood glucose and those who already had impaired blood glucose," Joshua J. Joseph, an endocrinologist and assistant professor at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and study author. "Those in normal levels who attained four or more guideline factors had an 80 percent lower risk of developing diabetes. Those who were already diabetic or prediabetic and met four of the factors had no change in lowering their risk for diabetes."
In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that more than 100 million Americans either have diabetes or pre-diabetes.
"We don't wait for people to come to us as patients. We're very engaged in taking our work from the lab and applying it to our populations so we can help keep our communities healthy," Joseph said.