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University of Illinois Extension

Eating for Cardiovascular Health


Increased Risks for People with Diabetes

It is very important for people who have diabetes to make heart-healthy food choices because of their increased risk for cardiovascular complications. When compared to people without diabetes, people with diabetes have: Twice the risk of developing c... more »

Why do People with Diabetes have Increased Risks?

It is not completely known how diabetes influences the cardiovascular system. However, high blood glucose and high blood pressure in people with diabetes commonly cause changes in blood vessels. These changes may explain why people with diabetes have s... more »

Heart-healthy Eating

Heart-healthy eating is a way of eating that will help to keep your heart and cardiovascular system functioning well. Heart-healthy eating includes: Eating less: Total fat Saturated fat Cholesterol Trans fat Choosing more unsaturate... more »

What are the Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease?

Having risk factors for a disease does not necessarily mean you will develop that disease. They just mean you are more likely than people not having those risk factors. Scientists identify these risk factors through large population-based studies that ... more »

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is essential for life and is found in all cells. There are two types of cholesterol, one that our bodies make and dietary cholesterol. The cholesterol that our body makes is a fat-like substance produced by the liver. Dietary cholesterol i... more »

What is HDL-cholesterol: The 'Good' Cholesterol

Some research indicates that HDL-cholesterol carries cholesterol away from the bloodstream and back to the liver, where it is passed out of the body. A high level of HDL seems to protect against cardiovascular disease, and a low level indicates a greater r... more »

What is LDL-cholesterol: The 'Bad' Cholesterol

When a person has too much LDL-cholesterol in the blood, it can slowly build up on the inner walls of the arteries, which supply blood to the heart and brain. Together with other substances it can form plaque, a thick, hard coating that can clog the ar... more »

What are Triglycerides?

Triglycerides are the chemical form in which most fat exists. Triglycerides are the human body's storage form of fat. Blood triglyceride levels above 150 mg/dl are considered high, and may also play a role in forming plaque. Being overweight, drinking ... more »

How High is Too High?

The risk for heart disease is increased when there is too much cholesterol and/or triglycerides in your blood. However, the latest guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, developed in conjunction with the... more »

Dietary Factors that Increase Blood Cholesterol

Having high blood cholesterol, high LDL, or low HDL are risk factors for cardiovascular disease. There are five dietary factors that can increase your blood cholesterol levels, increase your LDL level, and/ or lower your HDL level: Saturated fat ... more »

What are Polyunsaturated and Monounsaturated Fats?

Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat are both unsaturated fats. “Poly” means many unsaturated chemical bonds and “mono” means one unsaturated chemical bond. These unsaturated fats are often found in liquid vegetable oils. Polyunsaturated oils ... more »

How is Excess Body Weight Related to Cardiovascular Disease?

According to the American Heart Association, weight gain is an independent risk factor for coronary heart disease and stroke. This means that excessive body weight alone (without other risk factors) can increase your risk for cardiovascular disease. For th... more »

What Dietary Changes can Help Lower Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by blood flow on artery walls. Blood pressure can change from minute to minute with changes in posture, exercise or sleep. However, according to the American Heart Association blood pressure should normally be less th... more »

How is Fiber Related to Cardiovascular Disease?

Fiber is a food component that comes from plants. Animal foods like meat, milk, eggs, and cheese do not contain any fiber. Foods that do contain fiber include: Whole grain breads, cereals, pasta, and rice Fruits Vegetables Beans Nuts Some ... more »

How can People with Diabetes Minimize their Risk for Cardiovascular Complications?

To reduce your risk for the cardiovascular complications of diabetes it is important to know the ABCs of diabetes. “A” stands for Hemoglobin A1c. A hemoglobin A1c test will give you an average of what your blood glucose levels (both... more »

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This site was last updated June, 2014.
This is a source of information only, and is not medical advice.