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%.