Dr Shailendra Rawal explains the relation between food & heart health

Food is a factor that decides your heart health

Dr Shailendra Rawal explains the relation between food & heart health

The ideal diet for heart health

Diet plays a crucial role in heart health, affecting everything from blood pressure to your likelihood of developing heart disease. And while certain eating patterns are solid choices for weight loss and gaining muscle mass, other diets are better suited for giving your heart health a boost.

Years of investigation into the relationship between diet and heart disease concentrated on specific vitamins and minerals, types of fats, and individual nutrients like cholesterol (and foods high in dietary cholesterol, such as eggs). This research has been eye-opening, but it has also led to some dead ends and perpetuated misconceptions about what a heart-healthy diet is. That’s because people eat food, not nutrients.

A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish, poultry, and vegetable oils is the best one for preventing heart disease. Red and processed meats, refined carbohydrates, meals and drinks with added sugar, sodium, and foods with trans fats should be avoided.

People with diets consistent with this dietary pattern had a 31% lower risk of heart disease, a 33% lower risk of diabetes, and a 20% lower risk of stroke [1]

Research showed that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts, both rich sources of unsaturated fat, reduced the incidence of major cardiovascular events amongst patients with cardiovascular disease over a 4.8-year follow-up period [2]

In 2020, another research showed, those who adhered most to healthy eating patterns had a 14% to 21% lower risk of cardiovascular disease when compared with those who adhered least [3]

Sodium and potassium are two interconnected minerals that are crucial for maintaining a healthy heart and blood pressure. Consuming more potassium-rich foods and consuming fewer salty foods may considerably reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Numerous foods contain potassium, particularly fruits, vegetables, legumes, and low-fat dairy products. However, eating a low potassium diet while consuming a lot of sodium-rich foods, such as processed bread, packaged snacks, canned products, and fast food meals, can raise your risk of cardiovascular disease [4]

Your total dietary pattern is more significant than any one food because no one food can miraculously make you healthy. A heart-healthy diet is based on "real," natural food—fresh from the ground, ocean, or farm—instead than fried, processed food, boxed meals, and sugary snacks.

These heart-healthy eating ideas will help you better manage your conditions and reduce your chance of having a heart attack, regardless of whether you want to improve your cardiovascular health, have been diagnosed with heart disease, have high cholesterol, or have high blood pressure.

(Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only. Please consult a qualified doctor before taking any decisions regarding recommendations in the article or for more information.)


  • Chiuve SE, Fung TT, Rimm EB, et al. Alternative dietary indices both strongly predict risk of chronic disease. The Journal of nutrition. 2012;142:1009-18
  • Estruch R, Ros E, Salas-Salvadó J, et al. Primary prevention of cardiovascular disease with a mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts. New England Journal of Medicine. 2018 Jun 13
  • Shan Z, Li Y, Baden MY, Bhupathiraju SN, Wang DD, Sun Q, Rexrode KM, Rimm EB, Qi L, Willett WC, Manson JE, Qi Q, Hu FB. Association Between Healthy Eating Patterns and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease. JAMA Intern Med. Published online June 15, 2020
  • Yu E, Malik VS, Hu FB. Cardiovascular Disease Prevention by Diet Modification: JACC Health Promotion Series. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2018 Aug 21;72(8):914-26

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