CARDIOVASCULAR
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PUBLISHED 04-05-18

If you have coronary artery disease, eating healthfully is as much about what you include in your diet as what you cut out.

If you’ve had an angioplasty or coronary stent procedure, or are preparing for one, the best way to use food to improve the health of your arteries and heart –and almost every other organ and function – is to eat whole foods. In other words, don’t buy foods that contain ingredients; buy foods that are ingredients.

Instead of processed and packaged goods, buy vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, lean meat, water, tea, and maybe a little dark chocolate and red wine.

Eating healthfully is as much about what you include in your diet as what you cut out. Here, you’ll find items to replace the trans fats and processed sugars in the snack foods that may populate your grocery cart.


Choose these heart-friendly foods to promote your cardiovascular health:


GREENS
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Green vegetables such as spinach, arugula, collard greens broccoli and mustard greens have a protective effect on the heart.1 These vegetables also improve the health of the endothelium, the inner surface of arteries.2 In patients with stable coronary artery disease, endothelial dysfunction is a major risk factor for heart attacks and other serious heart problems.3


WALNUTS
heart-healthy-foods
Research suggests that eating nuts reduces the risk of coronary artery disease. Walnuts in particular offer a wealth of nutritional benefits for arterial health. Walnuts contain antioxidants and fatty acids that contribute to lower cholesterol levels and improved endothelial health.4


FISH
heart-healthy-foods
The omega-3 fatty acids in fish seem to reduce the narrowing of arteries in people living with coronary artery disease.5 The fish richest in omega-3s are salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring. Regularly eating fish, including tuna and dark fish, slowed the progression of coronary artery disease in one study of postmenopausal women.6


COCOA
heart-healthy-foods
Studies indicate that polyphenols, a type of antioxidant found in cocoa, may improve the health of arteries.7 Two of the richest sources of polyphenols are unsweetened cocoa powder and dark chocolate (best eaten in moderation – no more than an ounce a day of 85 percent dark chocolate).8


Download our helpful guide9-22 and take it with you next time you stock your shopping cart.

heart healthy foods guide

References

1. Plant-based foods and prevention of cardiovascular disease: an overview, http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/78/3/544S.full
2. Food sources of nitrates and nitrites: the physiologic context for potential health benefits, http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/90/1/1.full#T3
3. Endothelium function and CAD, http://eurheartj.oxfordjournals.org/content/34/41/3175.full
Endothelial Dysfunction,Oxidative Stress, and Risk of Cardiovascular Events in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease, http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/104/22/2673.full
4. A Walnut Diet Improves Endothelial Function in Hypercholesterolemic Subjects http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/109/13/1609.abstract?sid=1686f8a4-9f76-41df-9aae-f2ed7121262d
5. Fish intake is associated with a reduced progression of coronary artery atherosclerosis in postmenopausal women with coronary artery disease http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/80/3/626.long
6. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution, http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/omega-3-fats/
7. Polyphenols from Cocoa and Vascular Health—A Critical Review, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2790109/
8. Identification of the 100 richest dietary sources of polyphenols: http://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/v64/n3s/fig_tab/ejcn2010221t1.html
examin.com, http://examine.com/supplements/cocoa-extract/
9. Impact of a 6-wk olive oil supplementation in healthy adults on urinary proteomic biomarkers of coronary artery disease, chronic kidney disease, and diabetes (types 1 and 2): a randomized, parallel, controlled, double-blind study, http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2014/11/18/ajcn.114.094219
10. Olive Oil Times (same study but better explanation), http://www.oliveoiltimes.com/olive-oil-health-news/olive-oil-improves-heart-health/42870
11. Berries: emerging impact on cardiovascular health, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3068482/
12. Anti-atherogenic effects of resveratrol, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20485301
13. Red Wine and Your Heart, http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/111/2/e10.short
14. Determination of citrulline in watermelon rind, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16007998
15. USDA, Watermelon packs a powerful lycopene punch, http://agresearchmag.ars.usda.gov/2002/jun/lyco
16. Dose-ranging effects of citrulline administration on plasma amino acids and hormonal patterns in healthy subjects: the Citrudose pharmacokinetic study, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17953788
17. Citrulline and the gut, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17693747
18. Arginine and endothelial and vascular health, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15465805
19. Does grass-fed beef have any heart-health benefits that other types of beef don't? http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/expert-answers/grass-fed-beef/faq-20058059
20. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution, http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/omega-3-fats/
21. Dietary antioxidant flavonoids and risk of coronary heart disease: the Zutphen Elderly Study. http://www.researchgate.net/publication/15094514_Hertog_MGL_Feskens_EJM_Hollman_PCH_Katan_MB_Kromhout_D._Dietary_ antioxidant_flavonoids_and_risk_of_coronary_heart_disease_the_Zutphen_Elderly_Study._Lancet_342_1007-1011
22. Short- and Long-Term Black Tea Consumption Reverses Endothelial Dysfunction in Patients With Coronary Artery Disease http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/104/2/151.short

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