Arteries harden with age, increasing the risk of atherosclerosis and subsequent cardiovascular disease. Good eating habits, smoking cessation and physical exercise are known to prevent atherosclerosis.
“We found that a healthy lifestyle smartphone app, added to brief advice on diet and exercise, improved a marker of arterial hardness, indicating delayed arterial ageing and a lower risk for atherosclerosis,” said Jose Ignacio Recio-Rodriguez, Assistant Professor at Spain’s University of Salamanca.
The results were presented at the EuroHeartCare 2018 in Dublin.
In the study, the team analysed 597 adults without heart disease aged 70 years or under whether using a smartphone app could slow artery ageing by improving compliance with a Mediterranean diet — rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, potatoes, olive oil, seeds, fish, low saturated fat, and dairy products — and physical activity — equivalent to at least 10,000 steps a day.
They also showed better results in modifying the usual diet composition, with a higher percentage of carbohydrates, and lower percentages of total fat and saturated fat. Intake of trans fats and processed meats was also reduced.
“Healthy lifestyle apps could be a powerful weapon against arterial ageing. But studies are still needed to demonstrate their ability to reduce heart attacks and death from cardiovascular disease,” Recio said.