Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the first cause of mortality globally. Diet plays a fundamental role in cardiovascular health and is closely linked to the development of CVD. Numerous human studies have provided evidence on the relationship between diet and CVD. By discussing the available findings on the dietary components that potentially influence CVD progression and prevention, this review attempted to provide the current state of evidence on healthy dietary choices for CVD. We focus on the effects of individual macronutrients, whole food products, and dietary patterns on the risks of CVD, and the data from population-based trials, observational studies, and meta-analyses are summarized. Unhealthy dietary habits, such as high intake of saturated fatty acids, sugar-sweetened beverages, red meat, and processed meat as well as high salt intake are associated with the increased risk of CVD. Conversely, increased consumption of plant-based components such as dietary fiber, nuts, fruits, and vegetables is shown to be effective in reducing CVD risk factors. The Mediterranean diet appears to be one of the most evidence-based dietary patterns beneficial for CVD prevention. However, there is still great debate regarding whether the supplementation of vitamins and minerals confers cardioprotective benefits. This review provides new insights into the role of dietary factors that are harmful or protective in CVD, which can be adopted for improved cardiovascular health.
Keywords: cardiovascular disease; dietary patterns; food products; macronutrients; risk factors.