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Heart Disease: Prevention Myths - Topic Overview

There are lots of things you can do to lower your risk for coronary artery disease. But some diets and dietary supplements do not lower risk. It's not clear if vitamins, minerals, and multivitamins can lower risk.

Talk with your doctor about the best ways to lower your risk of heart disease. By eating heart-healthy foods, most people can lower their risk and get all of the nutrients they need. Other proven ways to lower risk include being active, staying at a healthy weight, and not smoking.

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This "powerhouse" tops the list, says Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD, WebMD's director of nutrition. And Lisa Hark, PhD, RD, says, "Blueberries are not only delicious but are also rich in antioxidants." Hark is co-author, with Darwin Deen, MD, of Nutrition for Life: The No-Nonsense, No-Fad Approach to Eating Well and Reaching Your Healthy Weight. According to the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, researchers believe that the antioxidants in blueberries work to reduce the buildup of "bad" LDL cholesterol...

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Eating plans

Heart-healthy eating can help lower risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

Do not use these diets to lower risk:

  • Low-carbohydrate diets. These diets could cause serious medical problems, especially if you have heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Heart Association do not recommend these diets.
  • High-protein diets. These diets limit healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables. And they don't include essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The American Heart Association does not recommend high-protein diets.

Vitamins and supplements

By eating heart-healthy foods, most people can lower their risk and get all of the vitamins and nutrients they need.

It is clear that taking some vitamins and supplements do not lower risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

Do not take these supplements to lower risk:

  • Beta-carotene
  • Chromium
  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Fish oil or omega-3 fatty acids
  • Garlic
  • Policosanol
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin B or folic acid
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E

It is not clear if taking other vitamins, multivitamins, or supplements can lower risk. There is not enough evidence to show that they work or don't work.

Hormone therapy

Doctors used to think that hormone therapy for women could lower the risk of getting heart disease. But hormone therapy does not prevent heart disease. So experts no longer recommend this use of hormone therapy.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: April 08, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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