Dietary Factors in Reducing Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases

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Diet influences many modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Considering this, moderation of total dietary fat, particularly trans and saturated fats, as well as cholesterol is recommended. Dietary fats should come mainly from plants and fatty fish, providing monounsaturated and polyunsaturated (including omega-3) fatty acids. Carbohydrate sources to emphasize include whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, and other fiber-rich sources, rather than sugars. Although vitamins such as E, C, and some B vitamins are associated with reduced CVD risk, data do not support the use of supplements, but foods rich in these nutrients are advocated. Dietary minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium may be beneficial to heart health, while reduction of dietary sodium decreases risk of hypertension. A large variety of phytonutrients are also associated with reduced CVD risk. Other dietary factors receiving research attention regarding CVD risk. Other dietary factors receiving research attention regarding CVD risk include caffeine, alcobol, and meal frequency, although more work is needed in these areas. In contrast, data are quite robust to support the importance of healthy body weight management in cardiovascular health. In general, diets based on a variety of less processed foods, mainly of plant origin, in the context of an active lifestyle, are conducive to heart health. © 2007, SAGE Publications. All rights reserved.

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American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine