Foods to Eat for PAD as Part of Treatment
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition that affects your legs and general mobility. When the arteries are partially or fully blocked with plaque buildup, it constricts blood flow to the muscles. PAD patients may experience discomfort and pain in their legs, because the lack of blood flow keeps oxygen and nutrients from getting through your body, making it more difficult for you to be active.
While diet is an important part of a person’s health, you may wonder if it can prevent or help with PAD. The short answer is yes, a balanced diet can complement treatment, but if you have been diagnosed with this condition, you should be proactive to prevent it from progressing further. Eating healthy is one of the numerous ways you can be proactive about PAD if you are at an increased risk.
PAD Diet: What are the Best Foods to Eat to Support PAD Treatment?
While a healthy diet won’t solve the negative effects of having PAD, it can help alleviate your symptoms and is an important part of a treatment plan.
Fiber is one component of a healthy diet for PAD because it attaches to fats in your diet and pushes them out of the system as waste. Without fiber, these fats could be absorbed into the bloodstream and develop into plaque in the arteries. It is recommended to increase your fiber intake to at least 25 grams per day. Foods rich in fiber include chickpeas, beans, brown rice, nuts, popcorn, and dried fruits. Some of the best overall foods to eat for PAD include fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains.
Monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and Omega3 fats are all healthy ingredients for a PAD diet. When consumed in moderation, each of these fats won’t raise your level of bad cholesterol, which can prevent plaque buildup in the arteries. These good cholesterol foods include olive oil, fatty fish, nuts, and avocados.
How Can a Poor Diet Increase the Risk for PAD?
PAD is caused by a buildup of fatty plaque, which comes from bad cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein or HDL) that is left in the blood vessels. Eating a diet high in fats, cholesterol, sodium, and triglycerides can increase your risk for PAD. Too much HDL cholesterol in your blood vessels causes the fatty deposits to harden, and restrict the blood flow to your legs, among other parts of the body. Good cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein or LDL) gets removed from the body, which is why it is a better dietary choice.
If you’re concerned that an unhealthy lifestyle and poor diet may have led to any current health issues you’re experiencing, schedule an appointment with one of our skilled vascular doctors. They can make an accurate diagnosis of your condition and educate you about potential treatment measures.
Does Maintaining a Healthy Diet Mitigate Risk for PAD?
For people not experiencing the impact of PAD, eating a healthy diet can help you decrease your risk of developing PAD. Enriching your diet with the right foods may help lower your blood pressure, reduce bad cholesterol intake, and prevent plaque buildup in the arteries. Although a healthy diet won’t prevent PAD all by itself, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk of developing the condition.
If you have PAD or are experiencing symptoms, maintaining a healthy diet won’t reverse your condition, but it can be a beneficial step to take. Treatment is always essential in your journey toward full health, but your diet serves as a necessary piece of the puzzle. USA Vascular Centers offers minimally invasive treatments for PAD that are designed to help you feel better with shorter recovery time.
What is a Good Diet for Peripheral Artery Disease?
A “Mediterranean diet” is recommended by the American Heart Association as it has been shown to help improve the quality of life for people with cardiovascular disease, which is a risk factor for developing PAD. This diet includes whole grains, fish, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nutritious oils. Because consuming high levels of salt is linked to high blood pressure, lowering your sodium intake can also slow the progression of PAD.
When you eat a diet low in fats and simple carbohydrates, it helps to increase good cholesterol intake while reducing triglycerides levels. This diet can reduce your risk and serves as the best diet for PAD and a healthy lifestyle. Simple carbs include sugary and processed foods like potato chips, cereal, and cookies. Complex carbs, like vegetables, whole grains, and fruits, tend to be healthier than simple carbs because they can help lower bad cholesterol levels in the body.
Foods to Avoid If You Have PAD
If you have already been diagnosed with PAD, our vascular specialists can recommend the best course of action for your condition, including how to maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid unhealthy foods.
For example, it is important to limit foods with high saturated fat content as they can increase the inflammation in your blood vessels and throughout the body. Increased inflammation poorly impacts the effects of vascular diseases including peripheral artery disease.
Sodium intake should be kept a maximum of two grams per day. It’s also important to cut down on monounsaturated and trans fats, which are most commonly found in snack foods, commercially prepared baked goods, nuts, olive oil, and canola oil. These fats can clog up the arteries, which reduces the blood flow to your legs.
Animal fats should be avoided or significantly cut down. This includes meats, dairy products, and eggs as they all have higher amounts of bad cholesterol than other foods. They can be replaced with fish and non-dairy alternatives.
Schedule a Consultation with USA Vascular Centers
If you are concerned about how your diet can impact a diagnosis of PAD, we highly recommend you seek a professional consultation with one of our vascular specialists. USA Vascular Centers offers non-surgical, outpatient treatment options for PAD, which can improve your quality of life and increase your mobility. Our vascular specialists work with you to develop a personalized care plan, which may include a healthy PAD diet.
Give us a call at 888.773.2193 or schedule a consultation online. We now offer telemedicine options to help you get the care you need for peripheral artery disease.