Heart Attack

Keep your lifelines clear and let blood flow freely to your heart. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.

The right diet is the key to managing many diseases and to improving general quality of life. For this condition, scientific research has found benefit in the following healthy eating tips.

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Choose good fats Eating foods high in monounsaturated fat, such as olive oil, and polyunsaturated fat, as found in nuts and most vegetable oils, may help protect against heart attack.
Eat canola oil and flaxseed People who eat diets high in alpha-linolenic acid—found in canola oil and flaxseed products—have high blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which may protect against heart attacks.
Feast on fish Several trials report that eating fish decreases heart attack deaths.
Focus on fiber A high-fiber diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, beans, oats, and whole grains may protect against heart attacks.
Go nuts Research consistently shows that people who frequently eat nuts have a reduced risk of heart disease, possibly because eating nuts lowers cholesterol.
Opt for complex carbs Eating a diet high in refined carbohydrates (such as white flour, white rice, simple sugars) appears to increase heart attack risk, especially in overweight women.
Stay away from sugar Sugar has been associated with reduced HDL (“good”) cholesterol, increased triglycerides, and an increase in other heart attack risk factors.
Try a low-salt diet Preliminary research has shown that eating too much salt increases the risk for heart disease and death from heart disease in overweight people, further research is needed to confirm these findings.
Don’t wait Making positive dietary changes immediately following a heart attack is likely to decrease the chance of a second heart attack.
Have an occasional drink Most studies confirm that light to moderate alcohol consumption (one to three drinks per day) significantly reduces heart attack risk compared with heavy or no drinking.
Avoid heavy coffee drinking Drinking five or more cups of coffee per day is associated with an increased risk of nonfatal heart attack in both men and women.
Avoid hydrogenated oils, saturated fat, and dairy fat Many doctors tell people trying to reduce their risk of heart disease to avoid all meat, margarine, and other processed foods containing hydrogenated oils and dairy fat.
Go easy on the eggs People with diabetes who eat eggs have higher heart disease risk, so they should limit eggs. People who don’t have diabetes, eating one egg per day is not associated with increased risk.

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2017.