What food is good for CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE




  • Salty foods, such as pickles


  • Citrus fruits
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Salmon
  • Trout
  • Tofu
  • Oats
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Olive oil
  • Whole grain breads and cereals
  • Flaxseed
  • Nuts


  • Red meat, butter, and other foods with saturated fats
  • Processed foods that contain trans fats
  • High-cholesterol foods, such as eggs, shrimp, and organ meats


  • Cardiovascular disease accounts for 40% of deaths of those 65 years and older in the US
  • More than 1.3 million Canadians have heart disease
  • Heart and blood vessel disease remain the leading causes of death in North America despite dramatic reductions in their incidence since the 1960s
  • More than 1.6 million heart attacks occur each year, resulting in about 500,000 deaths

    Old School

    Being obese automatically means you’re at risk for heart disease

    New Wisdom

    Recent research has found a subset of obese people who aren’t at greater risk of cardiac events
    You have no control over some risk factors, such as heredity, advancing age, and gender
    And some people have a higher risk because of an inherited disorder called familial hypercholesterolemia, which causes high blood cholesterol
    Far more often, cardiovascular disease is caused by lifestyle choices
    Inactivity and cigarette smoking along with a poor diet are the major lifestyle factors that figure in cardiovascular disease risk
    These controllable risk factors lead to high blood cholesterol, which promotes the buildup of fatty deposits in the coronary arteries and leads to angina and heart attacks
    Other conditions that affect heart disease risk include obesity, which increases the risk of heart attack and contributes to other cardiovascular risk factors; high blood pressure, which can lead to a stroke and heart attack; diabetes, a disease that affects the heart, blood vessels, and other vital organs; and excessive alcohol use, which harms the heart and blood vessels
    Many studies have confirmed that diet is a major force in both the cause and prevention of heart disease

    Nutrition Connection

    If the wrong diet can promote heart disease, the right one can reduce the risk, even for those who have uncontrollable high-risk factors
    A heart-healthy diet is the same commonsense one that protects against cancer, diabetes, and obesity
    Here are the guidelines: Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
    Numerous studies correlate a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables with a 25% or better reduction in heart attacks and strokes
    Seek sources of omega-3 fatty acids
    Salmon, sardines, herring, trout, and other fatty cold-water fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce the tendency of blood to clot
    Consume 2 or 3 servings of fish a week to get this benefit
    Omega-3 fats are also found in plant sources including canola, soybean, and flaxseed oil; ground flaxseed; and nuts
    25% of all deaths in the United States in 2008 were caused by heart disease
    Include soluble fiber
    Pectin, oat bran, and other types of soluble fiber help lower cholesterol and improve glucose metabolism in people predisposed to develop diabetes
    Oats, oat bran, psyllium, flax, lentils, legumes, apples, pears, and other fruits are high in soluble fiber
    A combination of legumes and whole grains is a prudent low-fat meat alternative
    Eat whole grain foods
    Several studies have found that diets high in whole grain foods such as whole wheat bread and whole grain cereals reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
    These foods contain a variety of important vitamins and minerals, as well as phytochemicals with antioxidant properties
    Choose healthy fats and limit intake
    The omega-6 polyunsaturated fats—found in safflower, sunflower, corn, cottonseed, and soybean oils—reduce cholesterol levels when they replace saturated fats in the diet
    Monounsaturated fats, found in olive and canola oils, tend to lower total and LDL cholesterol levels when they replace saturated fats in the diet
    Soft margarines containing plant sterols also help lower cholesterol when consumed as part of a heart-healthy diet
    For most people, a diet with less than 20 to 30% of its calories coming from these fats is recommended to help lower cholesterol
    Eat soy
    Research has shown that adding soy protein to a low-fat diet lowers the risk for heart disease
    Soy contains plant compounds called isoflavones that appear to benefit the heart, which help lower cholesterol levels
    Soy protein can be found in tofu and soy beverages
    Talk to your doctor about supplements
    Research on whether supplements help prevent heart disease has been inconclusive
    Seek most nutrients from foods, and consult a professional before taking any new supplements, particularly vitamin A, fish oil, and iron supplements
    Eat a small handful of nuts daily
    Nuts and seeds are rich sources of fiber, vitamin E, essential fatty acids, and minerals—all linked to heart health
    Try going vegetarian
    Research has shown that a healthy low-fat vegetarian diet rich in fruits, vegetables, soy and whole grains such as oats and barley may be as effective as “statin” drugs in lowering cholesterol
    Limit alcohol intake
    A glass of red wine or beer may be “heart healthy,” but excessive amounts of alcohol over time may lead to increased blood pressure, obesity, or other health problems

    Beyond the Diet

    For those who are not predisposed to cardiovascular disease, these measures can dramatically decrease the risk: Don’t smoke
    Smoking, or being exposed to secondhand cigarette smoke, harms blood cells, the structure and function of blood vessels, and the structure of the heart
    Exercise regularly
    Experts recommend getting at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week
    This also helps maintain a healthy body weight
    Get regular checkups
    A yearly visit to the doctor’s office is all it takes to get your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked
    A diabetes screening can also help, especially if you have a family history of diabetes or are overweight