According to a recent study funded by Boehringer Ingelheim and published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, a healthy diet is crucial for preventing heart attacks, stroke and cardiovascular disease, reported Medical News Today.
“At times, patients don’t think they need to follow a healthy diet since their medications have already lowered their blood pressure and cholesterol – that is wrong,” said research author Mahshid Dehghan, Ph.D., as quoted by the news source. “Dietary modification has benefits in addition to those seen with aspirin, angiotensin modulators, lipid-lowering agents and beta blockers.”
The research included 31,546 patients who had a mean age of 66.5 and suffered from cardiovascular disease or had injured organs. The subjects were asked about their consumption of milk, fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, grains and poultry, and reported about their alcohol indulgence, smoking and exercise habits.
During a five-year follow-up, 5,190 cardiovascular-related incidents occurred. The researchers found that those who ate “heart-healthy” diets were 35 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular complications, 28 percent less likely to have congestive heart failure, had a 19 percent reduction in stroke likelihood and were 14 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack, reported Medical News Today.
Dehgan noted that healthcare providers should suggest a heart-healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, grains and fish to their clients who have a higher likelihood of cardiovascular complications.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), people who eat a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet should consume approximately 4.5 cups of fruits and vegetables daily and at least 3 ounces of fiber-rich whole grains. Eating at least four servings of nuts, legumes and seeds is also beneficial for cardiovascular wellness. The AHA advised people to limit their sodium intake to less than 1,500 milligrams a day and to drink no more than 36 ounces of sugary drinks a week.
The University of Maryland also reported that omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for the heart. Studies have shown that they can help raise HDL, or “good cholesterol,” levels while reducing the amount of triglycerides, or fatty substances found in the blood. The source also noted that clinical trials have indicated that omega-3s may be able to reduce blood pressure and even benefit people with diabetes. Omega-3s can be found in chia seeds, flax seeds and an Omegakrill supplement from Dr. Newton’s Naturals.