Cardiovascular disease is likely the most studied chronic human disease, yet it remains the most common throughout the world and is the leading cause of premature morbidity and mortality in industrialized countries. Cardiovascular disorders include the diseases of heart and blood vessels such as atherosclerosis leading to coronary heart disease and hypertension.

In India, the epidemiological transition from predominantly infectious diseases to non-communicable diseases has occurred over a brief period of time. Premature mortality in terms of years of life lost because of CVD in India increased by 59%, from 23.2 million (1990) to 37 million (2010). CVD has emerged as the leading cause of death in all parts of India, including poorer states and rural areas. The progression of the epidemic is characterized by the reversal of socioeconomic gradients; tobacco use and low fruit and vegetable intake have become more prevalent among those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

The main cardiovascular diseases include increased blood pressure, ischemic heart disease, angina pectoris, cardiac infarction and other related diseases.


A number of nutritional and non-nutritional factors have been studied and they have varying associations with the disease process. They may act individually or jointly. These are:

  1. Sex – higher incidence in males

  2. Age – between 30-55 years of age

  3. Heredity

  4. Cigarette smoking

  5. Drinking alcohol regularly and in large amounts

  6. Physical inactivity

  7. Psychosocial factors

  8. Overweight or obesity

  9. Hypertension

  10. Diabetes

  11. Hyperlipidemia

  12. Eating habits – use of refined food only, excess saturated fats, salt, sugar, eating heavily in greater quantity.

Effect of energy intake - Obesity, particularly central obesity, is a recognized risk factor for cardiovascular disease and is the consequence of a positive energy balance.

Fat – epidemiologic evidence shows that serum total cholesterol levels are positively associated with the risk of atherosclerosis. Experimental studies in humans have shown that type of dietary fats i.e. saturated fatty acids, PUFAS and cholesterol affects the level of serum cholesterol and hence the risk of CHD. Saturated fatty acids intake is associated with causing hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis in humans. Although, MUFA and PUFA has beneficial effects on CHD.

Let us understand some of the terms that we commonly come across:

  1. Atherosclerosis – it is the basic pathological process involved in coronary heart disease. This condition is characterized by thickening and hardening of the major blood vessels by porridge like deposits called plaque. These plaques consist of blood vessels walls of connective tissues in which lipids are deposited. These lipids include free cholesterol, esters and triglycerides.

  2. Ischemic heart disease – it is also known as myocardial infarction. It is cardiac disability to meet the needs of the heart muscle for oxygen and nutrients, due to inadequacy of the arterials system of the heart. This may result in sudden death, myocardial infarction or angina pectoris.

  3. An infarct is a localized area of death that occurs due to insufficiency of blood supply. Such an infarct in the heart is called myocardial infarction (heart attack) and one in the brain as stroke.

  4. Angina pectoris – refers to tightness in the heart. This pressing, burning and sometimes severe pain across the chest that follows exertion as a result of inadequate oxygen supply to the myocardium.


The average adult body contains more than 100g of cholesterol. It is present in all the membranes of all tissues and organs. Some comes from the diet, some from synthesis within the body. Most of the tissues are able to synthesize cholesterol but the rate of synthesis varies from one tissue to another.

It is present only in foods of animal origin such as milk, shrimp, meat and prawns but not in plant foods. Vegetable oils do not contain cholesterol. It is synthesized in the body and hence it is not an essential dietary component. Cholesterol intake should be maintained below 200mg/day.


There are several controversies regarding dietary recommendations in preventing and controlling cardiac diseases. It has been shown that several risk factors lead to a heart disease but elimination of any one factor cannot be considered as a remedy. Cholesterol has been much talked about in relation to heart diseases but it is not cholesterol alone but the intake of high level of lipids in the food that is more relevant.

Fiber is another constituent of the diet which has shown hypercholestremic effects. Pectin, gums, soluble fibers tend to lower serum cholesterol levels, by altering the intestinal levels.

General guidelines:

  • The total fat should be less than 20-30% of the total energy intake.

  • Cholesterol raising fatty acids should be less than 7%.

  • MUFA should be between 10 to 15%, PUFA less than 10%.

  • Carbohydrates should contribute 55% and protein 15% of the daily energy requirement.

  • Cholesterol intake must be less than 200 mg/day.

It is important to follow regular meal timings and develop good food habits. Any one meal should not be too heavy and some amount of rest after every meal is advisable. Regular and light physical activity is beneficial.

Here at NUTRIDIETS, we will help you to plan a customized diet that is suitable for the respective disease and your requirements taking into consideration your eating habits and lifestyle. Following our diet plans, you will be eating not only healthy but also it will help you lose weight, which is one of the important part of a healthy life. With our diet you will also reduce the risk of further complications that are associated with the disease.

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