What Is a Heart Healthy Diet?

A heart healthy diet aims to control conditions that lead to heart disease. The two most probable conditions that may eventually lead to heart disease are high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Having too much cholesterol in the bloodstream may cause dangerous blockages to form in the arteries of the heart. Having high blood pressure puts undue strain on the heart and may damage both the arteries and the heart. Eating a healthy diet can either prevent or improve both of these conditions while lowering the overall risk of future heart disease.

  1. Limit High Cholesterol Foods

    • Food such as fatty meats, butter, eggs and full-fat dairy products contain large amounts of cholesterol. Also, foods containing either trans fats or saturated fats should also be severely limited or avoided because these types of fats make the body produce excess cholesterol.

    Eat a Low-Fat Diet

    • A heart healthy diet should be low in fat. According to the American Heart Association, fat intake should be limited to 25 to 35 percent of a person's daily calories. Dairy products should be low-fat or fat-free versions.

    Eat More Fiber

    • Fiber should come from fruits, vegetable and whole grains. The AHA recommends people eat 25 to 30 grams each day.

    Limit Sodium

    • Excess sodium is one factor causing high blood pressure. Sodium should be limited to no more than 2,300 mg per day.

    Choose Lean Meats and Poultry

    • A heart healthy diet should also include lean meats and poultry.

    Eat More Fish

    • The AHA recommends individuals eat two servings of fish each day. Eating more fish has a positive effect on blood cholesterol.

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