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What to Know About a Diet for Peripheral Artery Disease

Medically Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on October 26, 2021

One of the most effective ways to reduce peripheral artery disease (PAD) symptoms is to improve your diet. There’s evidence that a diet without the right balance of nutrients may contribute to both the development and progression of PAD.

What Are the Best Diets for Peripheral Artery Disease?

The key is to follow a heart-healthy diet — reduce your intake of saturated fats, simple sugars, fats, and trans fats. That change will help reduce inflammation in your blood vessels and your entire body. Limit sodium and increase your fiber intake, too.

Certain diets can help improve vascular health if you’re living with peripheral artery disease: ‌

A Mediterranean diet focuses on increasing healthy fats and decreasing unhealthy fats. Eat olive oil, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts, fatty fish, and legumes. Enjoy moderate amounts of dairy, and limit meat or meat products. ‌

A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that men ages 55 to 80 and women ages 60 to 80 lowered their risk of PAD and had fewer PAD symptoms when they followed a Mediterranean diet.

The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) limits sodium, sugar, and fat intake and emphasizes fruits and vegetables, whole grain foods, nuts, fish, and poultry. It’s been proven to reduce high blood pressure and the risk of having a heart attack. It may reduce PAD symptoms because it lowers inflammation and decreases your risk of a blockage.

By finding a healthy diet for PAD, you’ll lessen your symptoms such as leg pain, numbness, or weakness. The result is a better quality of life. 

Show Sources

SOURCES:

American Heart Association: “The American Heart Association Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations,” “Prevention and Treatment of PAD.”‌

Cleveland Clinic: “Choose the Best Diet for Your Peripheral Arterial Disease.”

Journal of the American Medical Association: “Association of Mediterranean Diet With Peripheral Artery Disease: The PREDIMED Randomized Trial.”

Journal of Vascular Surgery: “Advancing Beyond the ‘Heart-Healthy Diet’ for Peripheral Arterial Disease.”

Mayo Clinic: “Peripheral artery disease (PAD).” 

Mount Nittany Health: “Smoking and Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD).”

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