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Does a healthy diet prevent heart attacks?

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Although heart disease has a variety of contributing factors, people who eat a healthy diet can lower their risks of having a heart attack, explains Helpguide. Research published in the medical journal Circulation indicates people can reduce their risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke by 35 percent by eating a diet of primarily fruits, vegetables and fish, reports Anne Underwood for Prevention magazine. They can also lower their chance of congestive heart failure by 28 percent.

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Societies that rarely consume processed foods have low instances of heart disease, according to Underwood. Research also indicates the right diet can lower the risk of heart disease by 70 percent. In contrast, statins only lower the risk of heart disease by 25 to 30 percent.

Doctors recommend that people who want to lower their risk of heart attacks reduce unhealthy fats in their diet, eat fiber-rich foods, limit their sugar intake and avoid high-sodium foods, notes Helpguide. They should also incorporate healthy fats into their diet to improve their overall heart health. Heart-healthy fats are omega-3 fatty acids found in foods such as walnuts, salmon, herring and flaxseed; omega-6 fatty acids found in foods such as soy nuts and vegetable oils; and monounsaturated fats found in foods such as almonds, peanuts and avocados. An ideal diet can also include foods such as oranges, kale, garlic and lentils for unique heart-healthy benefits, suggests Underwood.

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