According to a meta analysis, the following are the best ways to ensure cardiovascular health:
Abbreviation note: CVD= cardiovascular disease, CHD= coronary heart disease.
Replace saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat: For every 5% increase in polyunsaturated fat reduce CVD risk by 10%
Reduce consumption of processed meats: For every 50 grams of processed meats consumed, CHD risk increases 42%, and diabetes risk increases 19%.
Reduce red meat consumption: Red meat consumption increases overall mortality rate by 31% in men, 35% in women. Red meat increases cancer mortality by 27% in men and 50% in women. Red meat consumption seems worse than processed meats.
Increase fish consumption: Advise eating fish rather than supplements for omega-3. Avoid mercury contaminated fish. Baked or boiled fish yield can yield up to a 23% reduction in CHD death rate, BUT deep fried, salted, or dried fish can increase CHD mortality by up to 15%. Fish oil should be supplemented when adequate fish is not consumed.
Eating up to 6 eggs a week has no effect on CHD, unless you are diabetic.
Coffee consumption appears to reduce risk of CVD death. The active ingredient in coffee appears to be the caffeine, because decaffeinated coffee does not have the same effect.
Reduce sugar consumption
Favor low glycemic index and low glycemic load foods: High carbohydrate consumption increases the risk of CHD by 70% for women, but interestingly no association was found for men.
Consume chocolate in moderation: Eating some chocolate decreases the risk of CVD by up to 32%, with chocamine being a primary factor.
Increase nut consumption: People who eat 4 or more servings of nuts a week had a 40% lower risk of CHD than those who ate no nuts.
Increase Vitamin D: Vitamin D helps to reduce the incidence of CVD, and reduce blood pressure. Vitamin D from sunlight has a greater duration of effect that vitamin D from food or supplements. Recommending 10 minutes a day of sunlight.
Portion control helps in weight management.
Alcohol in moderation: Consumption of 30g of alcohol per day can reduce risk of CHD by 24.7%.
- Efficacy of dietary behavior modification for preserving cardiovascular health and longevity. Cardiol Res Pract. (2010) Pryde MM, Kannel WB.