Long-term study reporting on the impact of a high quality diet (as scored using standardized methods) and the risk of coronary artery disease. The risk reduction is powerful…39%, and it held true no matter which of the major diet quality scoring tools were used. The upshot? Eating a high quality diet (abundant produce, lean meat, nuts, beans, hearty health fats, whole grains) dramatically lowers the risk of both fatal and nonfatal heart attacks. I don’t have a lot of faith in memory-based surveys, but this one is consistent with other reports from different populations, lending credence to the findings.

Results: We ascertained 6817 incident total CAD events, with 4588 cases of nonfatal myocardial infarction and 2131 fatal CAD events. Comparing top to bottom deciles, pooled RRs of the FQS were 0.61 (95% CI: 0.54, 0.69; P-trend < 0.001) for total CAD. These associations were independent of established cardiovascular disease risk factors including body weight, physical activity, and smoking. The magnitude of the RR for 1 SD of the FQS and CAD was generally similar to established diet scores that require detailed nutrient analysis, including the Alternate Healthy Eating Index-2010, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension score, and the alternate Mediterranean diet score.Conclusion: A higher food-based diet quality score was associated with lower risk of CAD and was comparable with established diet scores.

Source: Food quality score and the risk of coronary heart disease: a prospective analysis in 3 cohorts