What Is The Best Diet For People With Heart Disease?

Heart disease is the number one killer worldwide. It claims the lives of nearly 18 million people on a yearly basis, according to the World Health Organization. Some risk factors are unexpected and cannot be changed; for example, some people are at higher risk of heart disease due to genetics. Many other contributors to heart disease are under our control.

Even if a person already has heart disease, not all hope is lost, as adjustments can be made to improve overall health. There are steps that can be taken to remain as healthy as possible. In fact, the Harvard School of Public Health says that maintaining a healthy lifestyle can potentially prevent strokes and heart attacks, as well as premature death. One major part of a healthy lifestyle is eating well, as roughly 20% of premature deaths can be attributed to a poor diet, according to a 2019 meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

This is what to eat if you have heart disease

According to Everyday Health, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is recommended for people who need to reduce their blood pressure. The DASH diet can reduce blood pressure within two weeks, according to the Mayo Clinic. People who practice this diet often reduce their sodium consumption and eat more fruits and vegetables. A 2009 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine discovered that women who practiced this diet were 37% less likely to experience heart failure within seven years.

Everyday Health suggests an anti-inflammatory diet as an alternative to improve heart health. According to the Harvard Medical School, heart disease is associated with chronic inflammation. Inflammation can be caused by foods such as refined carbohydrates, french fries, soda, red meat, and lard. An anti-inflammatory diet involves limiting these foods and drinks as much as possible and eating fruit, vegetables, nuts, and fatty fish.

In general, common elements of heart-healthy diets include lots of fruits and vegetables, protein, and whole-grain foods. Sodium, salt, saturated fats, and trans fats should be limited or avoided altogether. Saturated and trans fats can be replaced with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, according to the American Heart Association.