Turning to diets that actually increase vascular health, I wanted to focus on the recent hazelnut study. This study increased flow-mediated dilation by 56%! There are a number of interesting things about this study.
First, look at the baseline diet:
In the control diet, there is already a very high unsaturated-to-saturated fat ratio. If you calculate it, it is 3.27:1. Based on my previous posts, this should by itself lead to a high level of flow-mediated dilation. So does it? Yes!
In this study, the baseline FMD on the control diet was 15.2! That’s very high. Compare it to the numbers in a previous post that compared a low-carb versus a low-fat diet. Those FMD numbers were between 6 and 9. Now with a high level of unsaturated fat to saturated fats in the diet, the FMD is 15.2%.
So then hazelnuts are incorporated into the diet, which boosts fat intake and reduces carbohydrate intake. The ratio of unsaturated/saturated fats goes even higher to 5.5:1. The result: FMD increases to 21.8%!
This is one of the highest levels of FMD I have ever seen! So what would this change do for a person, health-wise?
A recent meta-analysis showed that for every 1% increase in FMD, the risk of a cardiovascular event is lowered by 13%. So in this study the increase of 6.6% in FMD would reduce the risk of a cardiovascular event by 86%!
Not bad for swapping some carbs for hazelnuts in your diet!