Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a circulatory disorder that targets arteries other than those supplying the heart and brain. It is characterized by the buildup of plaque that leads to the narrowing of the peripheral arteries, reducing the blood supply to the limbs. It presents with pain and numbness in the limbs.
According to a study done in 2018, the estimated amount of people affected by this disease is more than 200 million. Though irreversible, PAD patients can control the progression of the disease by making healthy diet choices. These choices can also prevent the development of other cardiovascular diseases.
Dietary Recommendations for Patients with PAD
The main culprits in food that compromise the health of vessels in PAD are low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, and sodium. PAD patients should have food items that contain a low amount of these substances. According to American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines, the dietary recommendations for these people are:
- Reducing intake of saturated fat to only 5% to 6% of total caloric intake
- Reducing intake of mono-unsaturated fats and trans fats.
- Taking no more than 1.5 to 2 grams of sodium in a day.
- Increasing the intake of fibers to 25 to 30 grams in a day.
Considering these dietary recommendations, a person suffering from PAD should:
- Avoid eating processed meats and sugary food
- Eat whole grains and low-fat dairy products
- Eat protein sources containing low fat, such as fish
- Limit unnecessary sodium intake
Here are some of the diets that are beneficial in preventing the progression of PAD.
Mediterranean diet consists of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, fatty fish, olive oil, legumes, and nuts. It also contains wine and dairy products, such as cheese and yogurt, in moderate amounts. This diet increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol or good cholesterol in the body, ultimately improving the quality of life. It is often recommended to people having PAD.
DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension)
The focus of DASH is to put limitations on the intake of sodium and fats. People on this diet should also avoid drinking alcohol. Additionally, limited intake of sodium and fats reduces hypertension, prevents the development and progression of cardiovascular diseases. This diet is recommended for people suffering from PAD.
The focus of a low-fat diet is to reduce fat consumption by increasing the intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It increases the quality and expectancy of life in cardiovascular diseases. This diet is also best for people suffering from type 2 diabetes and obesity. Lower fat intake reduces the buildup of plaque; therefore, it is recommended for PAD patients.
A low-carb diet can decrease triglycerides and bad cholesterol levels in the body, especially when a low-fat diet is taken along with it. This diet aids in managing body weight, preventing the progression of PAD, and the development of coronary artery disease. A low-carbohydrate diet is recommended for patients with PAD.
Visit your doctor or a dietician to get proper advice about which diet is best for you if you have PAD.