Uric acid is a compound that forms when the body breaks down dietary purines. The kidneys are responsible for removing uric acid from the blood. However, some people may accumulate high levels of uric acid, which is a risk factor for heart disease.
This randomized controlled trial showed that supplementing with 10 grams of almonds per day for three months reduced circulating levels of uric acid by 14–18%, compared to those who didn’t eat almonds.
The carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) test measures carotid atherosclerotic vascular disease (CAVD). CAVD is when the carotid arteries, which supply the head with blood, narrow and harden. It is a common cause of heart attacks.
This randomized controlled trial in people with metabolic syndrome showed that supplementing with 5 mg per day of folate for 12 weeks significantly reduced CIMT and beneficially affected blood sugar control and blood lipids.
The observational study showed that the Mediterranean diet was linked with modest improvements in heart structure and function.
This meta-analysis of observational studies concluded that blood levels of omega-3 fats were modestly associated with a lower risk of fatal heart disease.
The relationship between the dietary inflammatory index and risk of total cardiovascular disease, ischemic heart disease and cerebrovascular disease: Findings from an Australian population-based prospective cohort study of women.
The Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII) rates the inflammatory potential of a diet. Some foods may be pro-inflammatory, whereas others may be anti-inflammatory or neutral.
This observational study in middle-aged Australian women found no significant association between the DII and heart disease.
This observational study in older Australians showed that good vitamin D status was linked with an improved blood lipid profile and increased hepatocyte growth factor, which may protect the blood vessels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
This meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials concluded that the Mediterranean diet may reduce the risk of heart disease. However, the available evidence is mixed and limited.
This observational study in 39,167 women from the Women’s Health Study indicates that eating nuts frequently is not associated with the risk of death from heart disease in healthy women.
However, in an adjusted secondary analysis, nut consumption was associated with a reduced risk of developing heart disease.
This meta-analysis of prospective observational studies concluded that cheese consumption is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. Eating 40 grams of cheese per day was linked with the lowest risk.
This observational study in Chinese adults showed that higher dairy intake was associated with a reduced risk of death from stroke among those who consumed low amounts of dairy, especially in men.
However, for those with a previous history of heart disease, there were no significant links between dairy intake and death from stroke or any other type of cardiovascular disease.
Flavonoids are a large group of antioxidants found in fruit, vegetables and other plant foods.
This observational study in men found that a higher intake of flavonoids from fruits was linked to a reduced risk of non-fatal heart attacks and strokes.
High intakes of vitamin K are thought to reduce heart disease risk by decreasing the calcification of blood vessels. Blood vessel calcification may lead to peripheral arterial disease (PAD), which may reduce blood flow to the limbs and head.
This observational study showed that high intakes of vitamin K2 (menaquinones) were associated with a reduced risk of PAD among those who had elevated blood pressure. In contrast, vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) was not linked to a lower risk.
Cholecalciferol, also known as vitamin D3, is one of two types of dietary vitamin D. It comes from animal sources, whereas ergocalciferol, also known as vitamin D2, is found in plants.
This randomized controlled trial in 40 healthy adults found that supplementing with 3,000 IU per day of cholecalciferol for 4 months did not affect blood pressure or arterial stiffness, which are risk factors for heart disease.
This observational study suggests that supplementing with calcium does not affect heart disease risk.
This small study compared the short-term (three-day) effects of three different diets that varied in fat, while keeping the amount of calories constant. In these diets, fat provided 25, 50 and 75% of total calories.
The study found that a high-fat diet (75% fat) increased blood sugar levels after a meal, compared to the low-fat diet (25%). It also increased the levels of vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1), which may raise the risk of heart disease.
This study in overweight or obese adolescent boys showed that supplementing with 50 grams of strawberry powder per day for one week did not change circulating nitrate/nitrite levels.
However, strawberry powder appeared to improve blood vessel function in some of the heavier participants. These findings suggest that strawberry powder may reduce the risk of heart disease in some individuals.
Monacolin K is a compound found in red yeast rice, a traditional Japanese food product made by fermenting rice with a type of red mold.
This randomized controlled trial in people with high cholesterol levels showed that supplementing with folic acid (200 μg/day) and monacolin K (3 mg/day) for three months significantly improved the blood lipid profile.
Endurance exercise (EE) and calorie restriction (CR) can improve heart health. However, it is unclear whether their effects on heart disease risk are additive when weight loss is matched.
This randomized controlled trial in overweight, sedentary men and women showed that EE and CR, combined or alone, caused similar reductions in markers of heart disease when weight loss was matched.
Quercetin is one of the most common antioxidant flavonoids found in plant foods. It is also sold as a supplement.
This systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials concluded supplementing with quercetin significantly reduced blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. However, the dosage required may be higher than 500 mg per day.
This randomized controlled trial in healthy, lean adults examined the effects of fish on blood lipids. Specifically, it compared the effects of eating 750 grams of lean fish (cod) every week for 4 weeks or an equivalent amount of fatty fish (salmon).
The study showed that an intake of fatty fish had beneficial effects on the blood lipid profile, increasing HDL cholesterol and reducing triglycerides. In comparison, lean fish had no significant effects on blood lipids.
Drinking water in many coastal areas in Southeast Asia is contaminated by high amounts of sodium (salt).
This observational study in healthy, pregnant women in Southeast Asia showed that those who drank water contaminated with salt had significantly higher blood pressure, compared to those who drank rain water.
Resveratrol is an antioxidant found in plant foods, such as the skin of red grapes and blueberries.
This pooled analysis of randomized controlled trials concluded that resveratrol might help prevent or treat heart disease. Specifically, 300 mg per day or more significantly reduced cholesterol, blood pressure and fasting blood sugar levels.
This observational study in Brazilian adults showed that low consumption of fruits, fewer meals per day and being overweight was linked with a greater risk of high blood pressure.
This meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials concluded that supplementing with 300 mg per day of magnesium for at least 1 month may lower blood pressure in adults. However, further studies are needed to determine the optimal dosage.
South Asians are at a relatively high risk of coronary heart disease. The elevated risk is not fully explained by known risk factors.
The authors of this review suggest that the popularity of high-heat cooking may be to blame. Deep-frying and re-heating of oils at high temperatures may lead to the formation of harmful compounds, such as advanced glycation end products.
This observational study suggests that consuming 2–6 grams of ginger per day was linked to a reduced risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
This 9-day study in obese children with metabolic syndrome examined the effects of reducing fructose intake (from 12 to 4% of daily calories) on the blood lipid profile.
Eating less fructose led to a significant improvement in the blood lipid profile, potentially reducing the risk of heart disease.
This randomized controlled trial examined how eating salmon affects the fatty acid content of pregnant women’s red blood cells.
From week 20 of pregnancy until delivery, the women ate 150 grams of salmon twice per week. The salmon did not significantly change the fatty acid content of their blood, compared to following a diet low in fatty fish.
This observational study indicates that eating a lot of fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of heart disease.
Conversely, fiber and fruit consumption alone were not significantly linked to heart disease risk in fully-adjusted statistical models.
This large meta-analysis of observational studies including a total of 816,599 people showed that high intakes of whole grains were associated with a reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer.
Additionally, for each 3-serving increase in whole grains per day, there was a 19% decrease in death from all causes.
This randomized crossover trial showed that eating farmed salmon (90–270 grams) twice weekly for 4 weeks improved the blood lipid profile, reducing triglyceride levels and increasing HDL cholesterol levels.
Additionally, the levels of large LDL cholesterol particles increased dose dependently. Previous studies have linked similar changes with a reduced risk of heart disease.
Preterm birth is associated with changes in heart shape and function that may have adverse effects on heart health.
This observational study in preterm infants suggests that exclusive breastfeeding may improve their heart function.
This observational study in middle-aged and older women indicates that taking multivitamins does not affect their risk of developing hypertension.
Coronary artery disease (CAD) is when the blood vessels that supply the heart with oxygen become clogged, increasing the risk of heart attacks.
This observational study in people with suspected CAD showed that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol is associated with a lower risk of CAD, compared to heavy drinking.
Three simple sugars (monosaccharides) are found in your diet: glucose (Glu), fructose (Fru) and galactose (Gal). This randomized, crossover trial compared the effects of these sugars (60 grams of each) on heart function.
The study showed that Glu and Gal caused smaller increases in blood pressure than Fru. Additionally, the increase in heart output and peripheral resistance (an aspect of blood pressure) seen after Glu ingestion was significantly lower after eating Gal.
This was a prospective observational study in individuals at a high risk of developing heart disease. It showed that low to moderate consumption of eggs was not linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
However, eating more than 4 eggs per week was associated with a slightly increased risk (hazard ratio: 0.96) among non-diabetic individuals, when compared with the lowest consumption (less than 2 eggs per week).
Intestinal Microbiota-Generated Metabolite Trimethylamine-N-Oxide and 5-Year Mortality Risk in Stable Coronary Artery Disease: The Contributory Role of Intestinal Microbiota in a COURAGE-Like Patient Cohort.
Previous studies suggest that high circulating levels of trimethylamine N-oxide(TMAO) increase the risk of heart disease. In some people, TMAO levels increase after the consumption of foods that are rich in choline.
This observational study showed that elevated TMAO levels were associated with a higher risk of death among patients with heart disease (stable coronary artery disease).
This observational study examined the association of heart disease risk with the results of 4 dietary quality indices in Finnish children. Only the Finnish Children Healthy Eating Index was associated with a reduced risk of heart disease in boys.
In contrast, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Score, Baltic Sea Diet Score (BSDS) and the Mediterranean Diet Score (MDS) were not significantly associated with reduced heart disease risk in children.
This meta-analysis of other studies showed that eating a lot of whole-grain cereals was associated with a lower risk of death, especially from heart disease.