What is heart-healthy eating?
A heart-healthy eating plan is full of foods that can lower your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. This plan can help you stay at a healthy weight and manage cholesterol and blood pressure. It is part of a heart-healthy lifestyle that includes regular activity and not smoking.
Heart-healthy eating is for everyone. It is not just for people who have heart problems or who are at a high risk for heart problems. Heart-healthy eating focuses on adding more healthy foods to your plan and cutting back on foods that aren't so good for you.
A few simple ideas
- Eat more fruits and vegetables and other high-fiber foods.
- 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 sodium, alcohol, and sugar.
American Heart Association diet
The American Heart Association publishes heart-healthy diet guidelines for all adults and for children older than age 2.
To put these guidelines into action, see:
For help with the DASH diet, see:
To learn more, see a sample menu for the DASH diet.
Dietary Guidelines for Americans
With the Dietary Guidelines for Americans plan, you enjoy your food but eat less. This plan recommends eating lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or nonfat dairy products. You limit or avoid saturated fats, trans fats, and added sugars. These guidelines are from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
For more information, see the topic Dietary Guidelines for Good Health.
The Mediterranean diet can also help lower cholesterol. It emphasizes fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, high fiber breads and whole grains, nuts, and olive oil. Meats, cheese and sweets are limited.
For more information, see the topic Mediterranean Diet.
How do you choose a diet?
With so many different food plans and health tips, it can be confusing to know what's best for you and your heart.