Prevent Heart Attacks by Eating Fresh Fruit and Vegetables

Let's say there's heart disease all over your family tree. You'd likely feel genetically doomed, right? That makes this good news even better: One of the most common causes of inherited heart disease is a nasty gene called 9p21, and research shows that what you eat can prevent a heart attack.

Just go to the grocery store and pile your cart with fresh vegetables and fruit. Something in fresh produce, especially veggies, turns this genetic bully into a wimp. What that something is isn't clear yet, but who cares? If heart disease runs in your family and 9p21 is why, eating lots of fresh veggies and fruit cuts your risk of the family heart attack so much that it's as if you didn't get the gene.

Here's another example: Say you and your neighbor have the gene. You're not a nutritional saint (dessert happens) but your diet is also packed with carrots, broccoli, spinach, berries, apples, and artichokes. Your neighbor eats a typical American diet (meaty, sugary, salty, fatty). Your healthy eating lowers your heart attack risk. Your neighbor's? It doubles.

We YOU Docs have seen way too much heart disease. (Dr. Oz's first job description was cardiac surgeon; Dr. Mike's, anesthesiologist). We'd both love never to see a heart patient again. That's not so far-fetched. If every American stopped smoking, started walking, managed stress, and ate a ton-o-veggies, heart disease could go extinct. Make it happen in your house.

Add these other healthy foods to your heart-smart grocery cart.

RealAge Benefits

Eating a diverse diet that includes 5 servings of vegetables and 4 servings of fruit per day can make your RealAge as much as 6.1 years younger if you're a woman and 4.4 years younger if you're a man.