How to Use Nutrition to Fight Heart Disease

by Jackie Wicks

You don’t need to call your diet anything special to experience the benefits, but you might have noticed that these recommendations fall pretty squarely in line with the Mediterranean Diet, a diet which emphasizes fish, nuts, seeds, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, healthy fats, and a little wine on the side. In fact, the Mediterranean Diet is one of the few diets which has been researched and shown to be highly effective in reducing risk of CVD.

A second diet which has been consistently shown to be effective is the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), which emphasizes lowering sodium intake while increasing potassium, calcium, and magnesium intake. While shaped slightly differently than the Mediterranean Diet, it’s overall very similar, with similar recommended intakes of fat, carbohydrates, and protein.

No matter what diet you follow, make sure it’s high in veggies first and foremost, followed by legumes, fruits, and lean meats (particularly fish and poultry). Whole grains can be healthfully incorporated, but they don’t necessarily add anything which can’t be obtained from veggies, fruits, legumes, and lean meat.

If you are currently at risk of CVD, you can improve your risk level with the Cheat System diet as well, with a few modifications. Veggie intake is already highly encouraged, but given the unique nature of CVD risk, you’ll be better off limiting the typically healthy foods which are higher in saturated fat, such as red meat (even grass-fed) and coconut products. It is also recommended that you consume plenty of legumes (beans and lentils), since those are one of the primary recommended sources of carbohydrates—they’ll also ensure you get optimal intakes of soluble fiber, potassium, and folate!

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