You’re surely well aware of the fact that your regular eating habits can affect your body in all kinds of fascinating ways. For example, what you eat can impact how well your blood circulates throughout your body as well as impact your blood pressure. On top of that, a recent study has found that a healthy diet can also benefit your blood vessels.
In the study that was recently published in Nature Metabolism, researchers examined how diet could benefit overall health by reducing molecular signatures that potentially trigger diseases, such as “vascular defects and endothelial cell (EC) dysfunction.” More specifically, it assessed to what extent the ECs that line the inside of blood vessels and “control the transport of nutrients, metabolites, oxygen and carbon dioxide between the blood and organs” were impacted by obesity.
Comparing the effects of a healthy diet to the relatively unhealthy Western diet in mice, those behind the study found that “obesity induces organ-specific changes in ECs,” and healthier eating habits can lead to an improvement in the molecular health of some blood vessels. For instance, while blood vessels in the liver showed a significant improvement—to the point where they saw an almost complete recovery, blood vessels in the kidneys didn’t experience the same positive result. Instead, the blood vessels in the kidneys retained molecular signatures that were related to disease.
When it comes to how diet can affect blood vessels in such a way, “the answer is a complex one,” Blanca Garcia, RDN, a nutrition specialist at HealthCanal, tells Eat This, Not That!
“Having a healthy diet allows the body to obtain high-quality nutrients and can help all the body’s cells get the correct amount of nutrients it needs to continue regenerating,” says Garcia. “This also includes blood vessels, as they are made up of cells themselves—and to stay healthy, the nutrients passing through need to be balanced.”
On the other hand, Garcia explains that a diet that is “undesirable for the body,” comprised of significant amounts of processed foods, few fruits and vegetables, and an “overall imbalanced intake of nutrients,” has a high probability of potentially leading to obesity.
“Obesity often complicates the organ systems and contributes to chronic conditions,” says Garcia. “Overall, an undesirable diet can prevent the blood vessels from obtaining the right amount of good-quality nutrients.”
Additionally, Garcia notes that how you nourish your body can impact your propensity for illness, either helping to prevent it or leading to disease.
“The body needs a constant influx of good-quality nutrients,” says Garcia. “The moment that starts to change, the body needs to prioritize and decide which system needs the little good quality nutrients it does get.” Garcia claims that “oftentimes, some organ systems become affected” as a result of this change.