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Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2012 Aug;90(8):967-76. doi: 10.1139/y2012-074. Epub 2012 Jul 19.

Nutrition and the healthy heart with an exercise boost.

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Gill Heart Institute, University of Kentucky, Lexington, 40536-0200, USA.


In this era of potent medications and major cardiovascular (CV) procedures, the value of nutrition can be forgotten. A healthy diet is essential, regardless of CV risk. Caloric balance is inherent to a good diet. Despite patients who say they eat little, ideal weight can be maintained if calories are burned. Composition is another component of a healthy diet. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) and Mediterranean diets provide proof of CV benefit from their specific content. Metabolic syndrome (MS) is associated with poor diet and obesity. A healthy diet with good nutrition benefits the MS patient and associated conditions such as obesity and diabetes. Exercise, in conjunction with a healthy diet and good nutrition, helps maintain optimal weight and provides CV benefit such as decreased inflammation and increased vasodilatation. Whether vitamins or other nutritional supplements are important in a healthy diet is unproven. Nevertheless, the most promising data of added benefit to a healthy diet is with vitamin D. Some dietary supplements also have promise. Alcohol, in moderation, especially red wine, has nutritional and heart protective benefits. Antioxidants, endogenous or exogenous, have received increased interest and appear to play a favorable nutritional role. CV health starts with good nutrition.

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