Therapeutic Diets

Role of Nutrition in Cardiovascular System

Cardiovascular disease (CVD)

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a term used to describe all diseases of the heart and blood vessels. Coronary heart disease (which includes heart attacks and angina) and stroke are common forms of CVD.

A healthy diet is a major factor in reducing your risk of heart disease.

A healthy diet and lifestyle can reduce your risk of:

  • Heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke
  • Conditions that lead to heart disease, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity
  • Other chronic health problems, including type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and some forms of cancer
A lifestyle for good cardiovascular health

Adopting a healthy lifestyle is the best way to lower your risk of developing CVD. It is never too early or too late to begin! Making lifestyle changes can also help stop existing CVD from getting worse. The key steps to reducing the risk factors for CVD include:

  • Healthy eating;
  • Regular physical activity (aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on most days of the week);
  • Not smoking;
  • Maintaining a healthy weight; and
  • Limiting alcohol consumption.

For good cardiovascular health, try the following healthy eating recommendations:

  • Base your meals around vegetables (including legumes), fruits and grain-based foods (preferably whole grain) such as pasta, noodles, rice and bread.
  • Eat moderate amounts of lean meat (trimmed of fat) and poultry (without skin).
  • Choose low or reduced fat dairy products, aiming for 3 serves every day.
  • Eat fish (fresh or canned) two to three times a week to get enough marine omega-3 fats.
  • Include omega-3 fats from plant sources such as walnuts, linseeds and canola oil.
  • Limit fried takeaway foods, cakes, pastries, crisps and biscuits.
  • Use moderate amounts of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and oils e.g. olive oil and canola oil.
  • Use plant sterol enriched foods, for example, margarines, low fat milk and yogurt.
  • Limit your intake of salt.
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