I am a female dietitian.  Here are my top 10 foods to prevent heart disease in women

Consuming a Mediterranean eating regimen filled with nutrient-dense entire meals, crops, and wholesome fat has been championed by specialists because the holy grail of wholesome diets, and analysis reveals it is essential for coronary heart well being, too.

Coronary heart illness is the No. 1 killer. 1 of girls in the USA, in line with the US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, though it was traditionally thought-about a “man’s drawback,” TODAY.com beforehand reported.

The Mediterranean eating regimen (or MedDiet for brief) has been related to a diminished threat of coronary heart illness, however thus far, no systematic assessment has centered on this relationship in girls.

Researchers from the College of Sydney analyzed 16 research involving 22,495 girls and located that girls who adopted a Mediterranean eating regimen extra intently had a 24% decrease incidence of coronary heart illness and a 23% decrease threat of mortality.

The findings, which underscore the significance of eating regimen in stopping coronary heart illness and demise amongst girls, had been lately printed within the journal Coronary heart.

The examine findings aren’t stunning, Dr. Icilma Fergus, director of cardiovascular disparities at Mount Sinai Medical Middle, tells TODAY.com. Not solely does a eating regimen wealthy in crops and entire meals assist with general cardiovascular well being, however it additionally helps decrease LDL (unhealthy ldl cholesterol) and blood sugar, she provides Fergus.

What’s the Mediterranean Eating regimen?

“The Mediterranean eating regimen focuses on high-fiber plant meals like fruits, greens, herbs, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, and entire grains,” Frances Largeman-Roth, a registered dietitian nutritionist, tells TODAY.com.

Different mainstays embrace seafood and olive oil, says Largeman-Roth, in addition to average quantities of dairy, eggs and poultry, and small quantities of purple meat. “It would not emphasize processed meals, added sugars, saturated fat, and refined carbohydrates (which have been proven) to extend irritation,” says Largeman-Roth.

Many meals within the Mediterranean eating regimen present vitamins which can be linked to higher coronary heart well being, says Largeman-Roth, and all of the crops add as much as a big quantity of fiber, which might decrease ldl cholesterol and enhance digestion.

Some research have discovered that the Mediterranean eating regimen could have advantages for menopausal girls, Largeman-Roth factors out.

The Mediterranean eating regimen is fashionable as a result of it is easy, versatile, and focuses on including scrumptious meals slightly than proscribing them, as TODAY.com beforehand reported. It is extra of a way of life than a “eating regimen,” specialists be aware.

So which meals included within the Mediterranean eating regimen are among the many high decisions for girls to eat for higher coronary heart well being?


Walnuts are wealthy in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been proven to assist enhance cardiovascular well being, in line with the American Coronary heart Affiliation, and scale back the chance of coronary heart illness and stroke.

Research present that together with nuts in a nutritious diet could play a job in serving to preserve and enhance bodily and cognitive well being as we age, says Largeman-Roth.

“In girls with metabolic threat elements (reminiscent of weight problems, hypertension, and excessive triglycerides), a Mediterranean eating regimen that included each nuts and almonds has been proven to assist scale back maternal weight acquire and scale back the chance of gestational diabetes,” she says. Largeman-Roth.

Darkish inexperienced leaf

Low ranges of the mineral magnesium have been linked to elevated markers of irritation, says Largeman-Roth, which might enhance your threat of coronary heart illness. Darkish leafy greens are excessive in magnesium, specialists be aware, and a very good supply of fiber and protein.

These embrace spinach, bok choy, chard, collard greens, arugula and mustard greens, a lot of which might be loved each uncooked and cooked.

Mustard greens are particularly nutritious as a result of they’re very excessive in vitamin Ok, which is essential for correct blood clotting, says Largeman-Roth.

“A cup of cooked mustard greens is excessive in beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin,” says Largeman-Roth, including that these, too, could assist enhance eye well being.

Wild salmon

Common (or twice weekly) seafood consumption is linked to a decrease threat of cardiovascular occasions, says Largeman-Roth. In a single examine, changing 3 % of processed meat energy with seafood was linked to a 31 % discount within the threat of demise from heart problems, she provides.

Not solely do seafood have heart-healthy fat, however they’re excessive in protein and vitamins essential to girls like vitamin D, calcium and zinc, says Largeman-Roth, including that fatty fish are essentially the most coronary heart well being advantages reminiscent of salmon, tuna and sardines. .

Wild salmon, particularly, is excessive in wholesome monounsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids, says Fergus, which have been proven to scale back the chance of coronary heart illness and stroke, in line with the AHA.

Wild seafood tends to have a greater ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, says Largeman-Roth, including that sockeye salmon offers two forms of omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) and has essentially the most excessive vitamin D content material of all salmon species.

An observational examine performed within the UK discovered a hyperlink between a eating regimen excessive in fatty fish and legumes and a delayed onset of menopause, says Largeman-Roth.

Inexperienced peas

Legumes, a key element of the Mediterranean eating regimen, embrace legumes, beans, lentils and peas, specialists be aware.

Niacin is a wonderful B vitamin for the guts as a result of it raises HDL (good) ldl cholesterol,” says Largeman-Roth, including that niacin-rich meals embrace peas, avocados and pumpkin seeds. Peas are an awesome coronary heart possibility. wholesome so as to add to your eating regimen and might be added to a wide range of dishes for a pop of colour and vitamins.

Some research have proven that consuming legumes three or extra occasions per week was related to a lower within the severity of menopausal signs, reminiscent of sizzling flashes or evening sweats, says Largeman-Roth.

Olive oil

Olive oil is a cornerstone of the Mediterranean eating regimen. “Wealthy in antioxidants and polyphenols, further virgin olive oil is the least refined sort of olive oil and presents anti-inflammatory advantages,” says Largeman-Roth.

Of all of the edible vegetable oils, olive oil has the best share of monounsaturated fats, which will help decrease LDL, in line with the AHA, and has additionally been proven to assist decrease blood strain.

Olive oil is extensively consumed all through the Mediterranean, Largeman-Roth notes, and can be utilized as a major fats for each cooking and baking. It is also an awesome base for salad dressings, she provides.


Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are one other meals generally present in Mediterranean delicacies. Along with being a sensible meals for coronary heart well being, chickpeas are additionally good for sustaining a wholesome weight and wholesome intestine, says Largeman-Roth.

“Chickpeas are excessive in each plant protein and fiber (soluble and insoluble), they usually additionally comprise the B vitamin folate, in addition to iron and phosphorus, which is essential for bone well being,” Largeman-Roth provides. . The versatile legumes make an awesome addition to salads, soups, stews, curries, and extra.


“Berries are nice as a result of they’re filled with nice vitamins and antioxidants,” says Fergus. Blueberries comprise excessive quantities of flavonoids, which have anti-inflammatory properties and have been proven to scale back the chance of coronary heart illness and blood strain, in line with the AHA.

They’re additionally excessive in fiber and vitamins, specialists be aware, like vitamin C, potassium and iron. “When the fruits are darker, you get quite a lot of nice vitamins from them,” says Fergus.

Butternut squash

“Potassium is one other important mineral for coronary heart well being, which is why it is a cornerstone of the Dietary Approaches to Cease Hypertension (DASH) eating regimen,” says Largeman-Roth.

Potassium- and fiber-rich butternut squash can also be excessive in carotenoids, which have been linked to a diminished threat of coronary heart illness, specialists be aware.

It may be loved by itself or as a wealthy base for soups and sauces.


“Whether or not you want them contemporary or dried, figs are a powerhouse of vitamins,” says Largeman-Roth. These fiber-rich fruits are fashionable in Mediterranean delicacies and an essential heart-healthy alternative for girls, specialists be aware.

A serving of figs (three to 4) can present 5 grams of fiber, 10 % of your every day potassium requirement and 6 % of your every day calcium requirement, says Largeman-Roth. Figs even have a excessive focus of phenolic compounds, which act as antioxidants, she provides.

Recent figs might be loved on their very own or added to a wide range of dishes, whereas dried figs are a superb supply of pure sugar so as to add to baked items.


Entire grains, a key a part of the Mediterranean eating regimen, embrace brown rice, entire wheat, oats, quinoa, buckwheat and barley.

All of those are useful on account of their fiber and mineral content material, says Largeman-Roth, however barley is the best in particularly fiber, a kind of fiber referred to as beta-glucan. “This helps decrease LDL ldl cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar and assist immune system perform,” says Largeman-Roth.

Barley additionally incorporates resistant starch, a kind of carbohydrate that acts like fiber and helps you’re feeling full longer, provides Largeman-Roth. Barley might be eaten by itself or added to salads or soups, and barley flour can be utilized in baked items.