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We Are What We Eat: Women and Diet for Cardiovascular Health

Albert, Nancy M. PhD, RN, CCNS, CCRN, CNA

The Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing: November-December 2005 - Volume 20 - Issue 6 - p 451-460

In women, cardiovascular disease is highly prevalent and is costly in terms of mortality and morbidity. Healthcare providers should educate women about initiating and maintaining a cardiovascular-healthy diet as a cornerstone of primary and secondary prevention. The difficulty comes in determining the correct messaging regarding diet components. Women should routinely consume a diet known to prevent coronary heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular risk factors. Essential aspects of good nutrition for women include diets rich in fiber, whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, antioxidants, minerals, vegetable protein, marine and plant omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins of the B group. Some foods known to provide cardiac protection in women, such as potatoes and citrus fruit juices, may not be cardioprotective in men. Thus, it is important to continue research efforts in women to determine the best diet for cardiovascular health.

Nancy M. Albert, PhD, RN, CCNS, CCRN, CNA Director, Nursing Research, Division of Nursing; Clinical Nurse Specialist, George M. and Linda H. Kaufman Center for Heart Failure, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH.

Corresponding author Nancy M. Albert, PhD, RN, CCNS, CCRN, CNA, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 9500 Euclid Avenue, M-14, Cleveland, OH 44195 (e-mail:

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.