A heart-healthy diet focuses on adding more healthy foods to your diet and cutting back on foods that aren't so good for you.
It is part of a heart-healthy lifestyle that includes regular activity and not smoking.
Eat more fruits and vegetables and other
Choose foods that are low in saturated fat, trans
fat, and cholesterol.
Eat at least two servings of fish each week. Oily fish, which contain
omega-3 fatty acids, are best. These fish include salmon,
mackerel, lake trout, herring, and sardines. If you cannot eat fish, you can also get omega-3 fats from omega-3 eggs, walnuts, flax seeds, and canola oil.
Limit salt, alcohol, and sugar.
What if you have high cholesterol?
The Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) diet aims to lower cholesterol by reducing saturated fat
in your diet.
The Mediterranean diet can also help
lower cholesterol. Like the TLC diet, it limits saturated fat. But on the
Mediterranean diet, you can eat more total fat—as long as it's unsaturated. It
also allows more fish oils, olive oil, and nut and seed oils than the TLC diet.
American Heart Association (2006). Diet and lifestyle
recommendations revision 2006. Circulation, 114(1):
82–96. [Erratum in Circulation, 114(1): e27.]
Expert Panel on Integrated Guidelines for Cardiovascular Health and Risk Reduction in Children and Adolescents (2011). Expert panel on integrated guidelines for cardiovascular health and risk reduction in children and adolescents: Summary report. Pediatrics, 128(Suppl 5): S213–S256.
Smith SC, et al. (2011). AHA/ACCF secondary prevention and risk reduction therapy for patients with coronary and other atherosclerotic vascular disease: 2011 update: A guideline from the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology Foundation. Circulation, 124(22): 2458–2473. Also available online: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/124/22/2458.full.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S.
Department of Agriculture (2010). Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, 7th ed. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing
Office. Also available online:
Primary Medical Reviewer
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.