Diet for heart disease

Arteriosclerosis and coronary artery disease

Under arteriosclerosis one understands a pathological change in the arterial wall. It comes to fat deposits, cell growth, inflammation, connective tissue proliferation and calcifications which lead to a Hardening and thickening of the vessel wall to lead. The inner diameter of the affected arteries narrows more and more and with additional clot formation it can lead to complete occlusion of vessels.

The consequences of these changes in the vessels are primarily the koronare Horeksophistication (CHD), Heart attack, stroke, Circulatory disorders and sacs of the arteries.

Atherosclerosis often goes unnoticed for a long time and its development depends largely on the presence, number and severity of so-called risk factors. The main risk factors for developing coronary artery disease are

  • changed blood lipid levels
  • high blood pressure
  • Smoke
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity such as
  • increased Fibrinogen and Homocysteine ​​levels.

Naturally, factors such as Age, gender and a certain family predisposition the emergence of coronary artery disease.

Numerous studies in the past have shown that the nutrition is the most important factor in their creation. The high-fat (high proportion of saturated fatty acids from animal foods) and high-calorie diet, which is widespread in industrialized countries, favors the development of risk factors such as obesity, Lipid metabolism disorders, High blood pressure and diabetes mellitus. The heart attack rate in industrialized countries is high.

Omega-3 fatty acids and their relationship to coronary heart disease

These fatty acids are found in fish oil and their scientific names are eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. First and foremost, these fatty acids have anti-inflammatory effects and have a positive effect on blood clotting by inhibiting the formation of blood clots. Omega-3 fatty acids are classified as cardioprotective. However, the question of the exact desirable intake cannot yet be clearly answered.

Antioxidants and their relationship to coronary heart disease

It is becoming increasingly known that the attack by so-called "free radicals“On the cells of the vessel walls in the formation of the arteriosclerosis plays an important role The cell membranes and the surface structure change. Free radicals arise from cells of the Immune system through internal and external influences such as radiation and environmental toxins. If they are too numerous in the organism, healthy cells are attacked and changed. The so-called Antioxidants used. These are vitamin C, beta-carotene and vitamin E.

  • Vitamin E seems to have a vascular protective effect, while the effectiveness of vitamin C and beta-carotene is assessed contradictingly. The protective effect of the trace element selenium is also still questionable.

Lately the effect of the secondary plant substances (see chapter “Healthy eating“At fruit and vegetables), primarily the flavonoids discussed as radical scavengers. Various studies indicate a cardioprotective effect of certain food components. There are no specific intake recommendations. Antioxidants can only be used as a supplement to the classic therapy of Risk factors coronary artery disease

Homocysteine ​​and coronary artery disease

Homocysteine ​​is one amino acid and comes from the protein metabolism. It arises in the organism as a short-lived metabolic intermediate and is normally quickly broken down again. The Vitamins B 6, B 12 and Folic acid needed. In the very rare metabolic disease Homocystinuria there is a disturbed breakdown and thus an increase in the homocysteine ​​level in the blood. This clinical picture goes with premature arteriosclerosis and arterial occlusions heart, Brain and extremities. Studies have shown that even a moderately increased homocysteine ​​level increases the risk of arteriosclerosis. By supplying vitamins B12, B 6 and especially folic acid, the homocysteine ​​level in the blood can be effectively reduced. It gets an intake of 400 mg. Folic acid recommended daily.

At a varied, full-fledged This amount is quite achievable on a diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables and whole grain products. Whether an additional intake of folic acid and the other vitamins mentioned in tablet form brings another advantage and which would be the optimal dosage cannot yet be conclusively answered. The basis remains initially a healthy, wholesome diet that is based on the requirements of the Food pyramid oriented.

Nutritional therapy

Basic diet

If K-patients are overweight (BMI over 25), a Weight reduction respectively. Here, a moderately energy-reduced mixed diet that normalizes blood lipid levels (in Chapter Obesity and hyperlipoproteinemia described in detail) .. are used.

Unilateral diet and fasting cures are particularly unsuitable for CHD patients. It can lead to a burden from the Cardiovascular system Basically, a needs-based energy supply is recommended for normal-weight CHD patients. The diet should be low in fat, high in carbohydrates and fiber. With the present high blood pressure Care must be taken to limit the daily salt intake. In the case of other risk factors such as diabetes, it becomes necessary to pay attention to the intake of sugar and in the case of increased blood lipid levels, in particular, the fat intake must be reduced and the quality of the fats must be observed.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Due to the protective effect of omega-3 fatty acids, regular fish consumption is desirable. High-fat fish such as mackerel, salmon, herring and tuna are particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Of course, low-fat fish such as saithe, cod or plaice are also recommended. They are suppliers of valuable protein and iodine.

Fiber and vitamins

Plentiful every day whole grain products, vegetables and fruit ensures a sufficient intake of fiber.Antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin C and beta-carotene are also adequately absorbed. Bioactive substances and folic acid will also be abundant.

Vitamin E is mainly found in vegetable oils and the daily intake of vegetable oils is recommended. However, it is doubtful whether the intake is sufficient to meet the requirement of 100 mg vitamin E. However, regular intake of vitamin E is not recommended without medical supervision.


Low, regular alcohol consumption is said to have a positive influence on the HDL values. However, in view of the known health risks of regular alcohol consumption to prevent CHD, this cannot be recommended.


Regular consumption of garlic can have a certain protective effect in the development of the arteriosclerosis cause. In some cases, a cholesterol and blood pressure lowering effect could be observed. Blood clotting was also positively influenced. However, the intake of garlic can only make sense in connection with a healthy diet based on the food pyramid and, in addition, have a minimal supportive effect.


Studies have observed a relationship between coffee consumption and high cholesterol levels. This effect is only triggered with boiled coffee, not with filter coffee, regardless of the caffeine content. This is attributed to the presence of coffee oil (Cafestol and Kahweol) back. In unfiltered coffee there are 1-2 coffee oil per liter, in filtered coffee only 10 mg.

If you have high cholesterol levels, filter coffee should be preferred. More than 3 - 4 cups per day are not recommended.


  1. At Obesity (BMI over 25) initially weight reduction
  2. Limit daily fat intake to 30% of the daily amount of energy by reducing the saturated animal fats from fatty meat, sausage and dairy products. Prepare low-fat.
  3. Regular consumption of fatty species of fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna and salmon in small quantities to increase the intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
  4. Prefer vegetable oils. Olive oil and rapeseed oil are recommended. No solid fats (coconut oil) and chemically hydrogenated fats from industrial products.
  5. Abundant consumption of fruits and vegetables. “Five a day” means 5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day (2 servings of fruit, 3 servings of vegetables). The size of the portion is measured by hand .. Varied, versatile and seasonal shopping ensures a sufficient supply of antioxidants, folic acid and bioactive substances.
  6. Abundant consumption of whole grain products, Legumes and potatoes in low-fat preparation.