A healthy diet is a major factor in reducing your risk of heart disease.
Diet - heart disease
A healthy diet and lifestyle can reduce your risk of:
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Most fruits and vegetables are part of a heart-healthy diet. They are good sources of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Most are low in fat, calories, sodium, and cholesterol.
Eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
Eat low-fat breads, cereals, crackers, rice, pasta, and starchy vegetables (such as peas, potatoes, corn, winter squash, and lima beans). These foods are high in the B vitamins, iron, and fiber. They are also low in fat and cholesterol.
Eat six or more servings per day of grain products, including whole grains. Grain products provide fiber, vitamins, minerals, and complex carbohydrates. Be careful about eating too many grains, however. Too much can make you gain weight.
Avoid baked goods such as butter rolls, cheese crackers, and croissants, cream sauces for pasta and vegetables, and cream soups.
EATING HEALTHY PROTEIN
Meat, poultry, seafood, dried peas, lentils, nuts, and eggs are good sources of protein, B vitamins, iron, and other vitamins and minerals.
Milk and other dairy products are good sources of protein, calcium, the B vitamins niacin and riboflavin, and vitamins A and D. Use skim or 1% milk. Cheese, yogurt, and buttermilk should be low-fat or non-fat.
FATS, OILS, AND CHOLESTEROL
A diet high in saturated fat causes cholesterol to build up in your arteries (blood vessels). Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance that can cause clogged or blocked arteries. This puts you at risk for heart attack, stroke, and other major health problems. Avoid or limit foods that are high in saturated fats.
Some fats are better choices than others, but you should still use them in moderate amounts.
Think about the following when picking a margarine:
Trans fatty acids are unhealthy fats that form when vegetable oil hardens in a process called hydrogenation. They are often used to keep foods fresh for a long time, and for cooking in fast food restaurants.
OTHER TIPS TO KEEP YOUR HEART HEALTHY
Talking to a registered dietitian is helpful. The American Heart Association has local chapters in every state. They are also an excellent resource for information on heart disease.
Maintain your ideal body weight and balance the number of calories you eat with the number you use each day. You can ask a dietitian or a health care professional to help you determine these numbers. Limit your intake of foods high in calories or low in nutrition, including foods like soft drinks and candy that contain a lot of sugar.
Eat less than 2,400 mg of salt per day. Cut down on salt by reducing the amount of salt you add to food at the table. Also limit prepared foods that have salt added to them, such as canned soups and vegetables, cured meats, and some frozen meals. Always check the nutrition label for the sodium content per serving.
Exercise regularly. For example, walk for at least 30 minutes a day.
Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Women should have no more than one alcoholic drink per day. Men should not have more than two alcoholic drinks each day.
American Heart Association Nutrition Committee: Lichtenstein AH, Appel LJ, Brands M, Camethon M, Daniels S, et al. Diet and lifestyle recommendations revision 2006: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association Nutrition Committee. Circulation. 2006;114:82-96.
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Mosca L, Banka CL, Benjamin EJ, Berra K, Bushnell C, Dolor RJ, et al. Evidence-based guidelines for cardiovascular disease prevention in women: 2007 update. Circulation. 2007;115:1481-1501.
Mozaffarian D. Nutrition and cardiovascular disease. In: Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, eds. Braunwald’s Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed.Philadelphia,Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 48.