A heart-healthy lifestyle is not about deprivation. It is about eating more—more fruits, more vegetables, more whole grains, and more unsaturated fats. When you focus on putting more of these nutrient-rich foods in your diet, there is naturally less room for the not-so-heart-friendly foods—those high in saturated fat and low in nutrients.
Healthy eating habits can help you reduce 3 of the major risk factors for heart attack:
So how does this translate into your grocery list and onto your dinner plate? To help you eat the heart healthy way, The American Heart Association has created some guidelines. Follow these dietary guidelines to improve and/or maintain your heart health:
Note: Recommendations based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet.
American Heart Association
US Department of Agriculture
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada
Dietary considerations for cardiovascular disease prevention. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115449/Dietary-considerations-for-cardiovascular-disease-prevention. Updated May 23, 2017. Accessed July 13, 2017.
Dietary guidelines for Americans 2015-2020. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion website. Available at: https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines. Updated December 2015. Accessed July 13, 2017.
Greene CM, Fernandez ML. The role of nutrition in the prevention of coronary heart disease in women of the developed world. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2007;16(1):1-9.
Nutrition basics. American Heart Association website. Available at:
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Updated May 19, 2017. Accessed April 29, 2015.
6/5/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116156/Coronary-artery-disease-CAD: Sinha R, Cross AJ, Graubard BI, Leitzmann MF, Schatzkin A. Meat intake and mortality: a prospective study of over half a million people. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169:562-571.
Last reviewed July 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
Last Updated: 7/13/2017