The Journal of the American Dietetic Association has published a comprehensive review of dietary factors for treating and preventing cardiovascular disease. The review of more than 150 recent research studies and other articles "provide scientific rationale for food and nutrition professionals and other health professionals for counseling patients," according to the nationwide expert panel led by registered dietitian Linda Van Horn, professor and acting chair of the department of preventive medicine at Northwestern University and editor-in-chief of the Journal.
The panel examined the state of current research on the effectiveness of foods, nutrients and food components in reducing cardiovascular disease risk factors while also meeting a person's nutrient needs, and identified areas where further research is needed.
"Numerous dietary factors/nutrients have been identified that affect (cardiovascular disease) risk factors," the researchers write. "An individualized dietary pattern is recommended to optimize CVD risk factor reduction while meeting nutrient needs."
The review identifies effective "dietary considerations" including a diet that:
- Is low is saturated fatty acids, trans fatty acids and dietary cholesterol;
- Is "ample" in total dietary fiber with emphasis on soluble fiber;
- Includes fat-free/low-fat dairy foods and/or other calcium/vitamin D-rich sources;
- Is rich in vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants from multiple servings of fruits and vegetables and low in sodium;
- May include plant sterols and stanols in high-risk individuals; and
- Achieves a healthful body weight and calorie balance with the recommended dietary intervention by increasing physical activity and maintaining adequate calorie intake.
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