Lifestyle and dietary changes in a nutshell

Lifestyle and dietary modifications are the cornerstone in CVD prevention. Here you find a summary (see Table 14) of the different lifestyle and dietary approaches which are recommended1,10 to manage the major modifiable CVD risk factors and hence CVR risk:

Table 14: Recommendations for a healthy diet and lifestyle

Recommendations for a healthy diet
Use a foods group approach Diet patterns like the DASH, the Portfolio diet, or the Mediterranean diet, are more likely to meet balanced nutrient requirements than those diets that are selectively restricted in calories or nutrients.
Reduce saturated fats by replacing them with mono- and polyunsaturated fats Saturated fat should be replaced with MUFA or PUFA to reduce LDL-cholesterol.
Consider foods with added plant sterols/stanols Foods with added plant sterols/stanols are effective in reducing LDL-cholesterol when consumed in recommended amounts (1.5-3 g/day).
Increase dietary fibre intake especially intake of foods rich in soluble fibres Consume 25-45 g of dietary fibre per day of which 5-15 g of soluble fibres from foods rich in these fibres for a cholesterol-lowering effect
Limit salt intake Salt intake should be reduced below 5 g/day by avoiding table salt and limiting salt in cooking and by choosing foods low in added salt
Limit sugar intake The intake of beverages and foods with added sugars, particularly soft drinks, should be limited, particularly for patients with hypertriglyceridemia. Sugar intake should not exceed 10% of total energy.
Recommendations on lifestyle changes
Keep being physical active Physical activity should be encouraged, aiming at regular physical exercise for at least 30 minutes a day
Reduce body weight if overweight/obesity occurs A BMI of < 25 kg/m2 is associated with favorable effects on BP and dyslipidemia
Moderate alcohol intake For those who drink alcoholic beverages, moderation should be advised (no more than 1drink/day for women and 1-2 drinks/day for men) and patients with hypertriglyceridemia should abstain
Avoid tobacco and quit smoking Use and exposure to tobacco and even passive smoking has to be avoided

Table adapted from 2016 ESC/EAS Guidelines for the management of dyslipidemias10 and the 2016 European Guidelines on CVD prevention in clinical practice1.