Can You Eat Your Way Out Of A Heart Attack?

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Nov 1, 2018

A healthy diet confers a lower risk of heart attack and stroke. People with diets high in saturated fats and simple carbohydrates are more likely to have cardiovascular events, and Mediterranean diets reduce these risks. Typically this type of diet is rich with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. Olive oil is the main source of fat, and there are typically low quantities of fish, poultry, and dairy, with occasional red meat. It is not clear if the cardiovascular benefits of a Mediterranean diet are due to its effect on lipids, or something we don’t yet understand. VASCEPA is a new and effective prescription only, pure fish oil treatment for high triglycerides, but no one is really sure if any fish oil is useful in preventing CVD. Additionally it is not completely clear which patients should be taking fish oil supplements, although most physicians still recommend it. Eating fish rich in omega 3 twice a week is probably the best strategy. Other ways to modify lipids include taking red yeast rice supplements, as it contains naturally-occurring substances that reduce LDL-C, and may have effects on cardiovascular endpoints. Unfortunately there is a confusing lack of standardization for the red yeast rice supplements offered in the US. Eating a plant based diet and staying very active currently seems to be the best way to prevent and modify existing cardiovascular disease. Stay tuned for new studies on the utility of fish oil supplements.