Vitamins & Exercise Heart Attack Prevention Series

  • Medical Author:
    Daniel Lee Kulick, MD, FACC, FSCAI

    Dr. Kulick received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Southern California, School of Medicine. He performed his residency in internal medicine at the Harbor-University of California Los Angeles Medical Center and a fellowship in the section of cardiology at the Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Cardiology.

  • Medical Author: Dennis Lee, MD
    Dennis Lee, MD

    Dr. Lee was born in Shanghai, China, and received his college and medical training in the United States. He is fluent in English and three Chinese dialects. He graduated with chemistry departmental honors from Harvey Mudd College. He was appointed president of AOA society at UCLA School of Medicine. He underwent internal medicine residency and gastroenterology fellowship training at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Quick GuideHeart Disease: Causes of a Heart Attack

Heart 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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Hartley L, et al, Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Jun 4;6:CD009874. Increased consumption of fruit and vegetables for the primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases. PMID:23736950

Hruby A et al, “Magnesium Intake Is Inversely Associated With Coronary Artery Calcification: The Framingham Heart Study'” JACC Cardiovasc Imaging. 2013 Nov 20. pii: S1936-878X(13)00778-X. doi: 10.1016/j.jcmg.2013.10.006. [Epub ahead of print]

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/13/2016

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