A Healthy Heart of Fruits and VegetablesYou’ve probably heard it before, but it’s worth repeating:

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women
  • Diet and lifestyle choices can have a dramatic effect on the development of heart disease and other conditions affecting the cardiovascular system

It’s never too late to start taking measures to prevent the onset or progression of cardiovascular disease—the more changes you make now, the healthier you’ll be in years to come. In addition to getting regular physical activity and not smoking, what you eat makes a big difference.

Since February is American Heart Month, we thought we would take this opportunity to highlight some of the scientific evidence regarding the effect of food and beverages, as well as certain nutrients and dietary factors, on the risk of heart disease and some related conditions.  Key foods to include in a heart-healthy diet include fruit and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and fish.  Consult the table below for specific evidence-based recommendations.


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For more details on the relationship between nutrients or other dietary components and specific cardiovascular conditions, see the Disease Index in the Micronutrient Information Center.

The American Heart Association also has guidelines for healthy eating.

This article was contributed by Giana Angelo, PhD, a nutrition scientist with the Micronutrient Information Center.

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