Even though PAD is known to cause poor motor ability (specifically in the legs and feet), patients are still recommended to live healthy and actively. Why? Well, even though it is not a condition that can ever be cured — be it with medication or surgery. Studies have posited that, if you live healthier, then its effects won’t be as bad or as debilitating as it can be if you were to leave it to fester.
That’s why it is recommended that PAD patients put in an effort to change up their lifestyle. No matter how monumental that effort might be, as it can make or break their recovery.
General Dietary Rules
The subject of what to eat when you have PAD is a little broader than you’d think. However, there are rules that you should abide by generally.
- Fats are okay but eat good fats. Try to avoid eating too many saturated fats. The Cleveland Clinic recommends that you limit the amount of saturated fat in your diet to around 5-6% per day. This is also true for “mono-unsaturated” fats (which is in vegetable oil, animal fat, and even milk.)
- Sodium (salt-content) should also be minimized as much as possible. Again, according to the Cleveland Clinic, you should limit your salt-intake at around 1.5 to 2.0 grams per day.
- As for fiber, which is something that most people tend to ignore and forget about, you should actively try to increase the amount of it in your diet.
These recommendations, when followed, should help lower your blood pressure and reduce bad cholesterol — which can help prevent the cardiovascular risks that are naturally linked to PAD.
Diets to Consider
As for actual diets that you might want to try out when you have PAD (for easy meal-choices) there are a couple of things that physicians will recommend. However, it really all depends on what you need — which is why it is suggested that you get a dietician to discuss your current diet.
- For PAD, the general recommendation is the Mediterranean Diet. This diet is high in healthy oils (not vegetable oil — which is something we recommended to avoid up above), nuts, green vegetables, and fish that are rich in Omega-3 Fatty acids (healthy fats.)
- Another diet that might be incorporated by your dietician is the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. It involves the application of a lot of the general dietary rules that we discussed in the beginning. And, as the name suggests, is particularly effective at decreasing high blood pressure (hypertension.)
Again, these are just general diets that are known to help improve circulation. However, it might not necessarily work for you (it really depends on what you’re already eating — and what you need more/less of.)
Conclusion — What to Eat When You Have PAD?
If you want to know what to eat when you have PAD, then the best way to find out is to approach someone that knows about the nutritional values and effects of certain diets (i.e. an actual dietician.) This is something that we’d recommend for all of those who have PAD, as it can significantly increase your ability to live comfortably despite your condition.
- Team, Vascular. “You Can Eat Fat If You Choose Wisely.” Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, 15 Apr. 2016, health.clevelandclinic.org/you-can-eat-fat-if-you-choose-wisely/.
- Clair, Daniel. “Choose the Best Diet for Your Peripheral Arterial Disease.” Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, 4 Feb. 2019, health.clevelandclinic.org/choose-the-best-diet-for-your-peripheral-arterial-disease/.