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NMU 307 – Portfolio Diet Lowers Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke

Nutrition/Natural Medicine Update No 307 (November 8, 2023)

with Dr. James Meschino

Topic: Portfolio Diet Lowers Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke

Source: Journal Circulation (American Heart Association) October 25, 2023


A large study published in the journal Circulation in October 2023 provided additional compelling evidence that the Portfolio Diet is an effective nutrition program to reduce risk of heart disease and stroke. The Portfolio diet emphasizes plant proteins such as legumes (beans, peas) tofu, soymilk, as well as nuts and seeds, high-fiber foods such as bran, oats, berries, and eggplant, as well as monounsaturated fats from foods such as olive oil and avocado. This study followed 73,924 women from the Nurses’ Health Study, 92,346 women from the Nurses’ Health Study II and 43,970 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, all of whom were free from cardiovascular disease at the point they entered the study. The study recorded dietary pattern updates on all individuals every four years and provided data on up to 30 years of total follow-up.

The results showed that the nurses and male health professionals who most closely adhered to the Portfolio Diet pattern of eating had a 14% lower risk of having a heart attack or a stroke than individuals who were least compliant. The least compliant individuals consumed diets that contained more high fat animal foods such as beef, pork and high fat dairy products, which are rich in saturated fat and cholesterol. As well, the nurses and male health professionals following the Portfolio Diet had lower blood cholesterol and lipid levels than those who were least compliant with the principles of the Portfolio Diet.The researchers commented, “This study provides additional evidence to support the use of the plant-based Portfolio dietary pattern for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease,” which aligns with American Heart Association guidelines promoting consumption of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, plant-based proteins, minimally processed foods, and healthy unsaturated plant oils.” (i.e., extra virgin olive oil)

I think this is very important information. For many reasons it is helpful to reduce the intake of beef, pork and high fat dairy products and other processed foods high in saturated fat and/or trans-fats. The guiding principles of the Portfolio Diet are a good way to acquire heart healthy fats, phytonutrients, and fiber and to avoid foods linked to heart disease and stroke.

But I also recommend taking a supplement by age 45 that contains CoQ10 and Hawthorn to help prevent the heart muscle from weakening, which leads to congestive heart failure – the leading cause of hospital admissions in those 65 and older. Our bodies make less CoQ10 as we age, but supplementation with CoQ10 and Hawthorn can help prevent the heart muscle from weakening, as they both play a key role in energy production within the heart muscle. CoQ10 and Hawthorn can also help prevent the age-related rise in blood pressure that is quite common.

I have included the reference for the Portfolio Diet Study in the text below.


Medscape November 7, 2023. Portfolio Diet Tied to Lower Risk of CVD, Stroke. Pauline Anderson (October 27, 2023)


Glenn A. J. Portfolio diet score and risk of cardiovascular disease: Findings from 3 prospective cohort studies. Circulation October 25, 2023.


Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,
Dr. Meschino

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