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Quick GuideHeart Disease: Causes of a Heart Attack
Recommendations to prevent heart attacks
- Eat whole, natural, and fresh foods.
- Eat five to ten servings of fruits and vegetables daily and eat more peas, beans, and nuts.
- Increase intake of omega-3 fatty acids by eating more fish, walnuts, flaxseed oil, and green leafy vegetables. An example of meeting the recommended intake of omega-3 fats is to eat 2 salmon portions a week or 1 gram of omega-3-fatty acid supplement daily.
- Drink water, tea, non-fat dairy and red wine (two drinks or less daily for men, one drink or less daily for women).
- Eat lean protein such as skinless poultry, fish, and lean cuts of red meat.
- Avoid trans-fats and limit intake of saturated fats. This means avoiding fried foods, hard margarine, commercial baked goods, and most packaged and processed snack foods, high fat dairy and processed meats such as bacon, sausage, and deli meats.
- Limit glycemic foods. Glycemic foods are those made with sugar and white flour, which increase blood sugar levels. Increased blood sugar levels stimulate the pancreas to release insulin. Chronically high insulin levels are believed to cause weight gain as well as atherosclerosis of the arteries.
- Exercise daily.
- Understand your risk factors and research in this area. For example, the Framingham Heart Study recruited residents of Framingham, Massachusetts beginning around 1948 and followed the group in an attempt to identify the common factors or characteristics that contribute to heart attack or stroke.
Medically reviewed by Robert J. Bryg, MD; Board Certified Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Cardiovascular Disease
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