Heart-healthy eating can support your heart and blood vessels. It can also limit things that can harm them. Eating this way can also help control your risk of heart disease. It is vital for people who have:
You can eat this way and still choose from many types of foods. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Healthy foods have high of vitamins, minerals, and other things your body needs. They have less things like salt and trans fats. These can harm vessels. They can also make blood pressure or cholesterol worse. Whole foods that are close to their normal state are:
Heart-healthy eating focuses on these foods. Processed foods aren't as healthy. These are foods in boxes, cans, or bags. They should be eaten rarely. They have little nutritional value. They are also high in things like fats and salt. Read food labels to find out how much of these the foods you eat have. Always pick whole foods first.
Here are some changes you can make.
|Food||Healthy choices...||Do not eat or eat rarely...|
|Fruits and veggies|
|Meats and Beans|
|Fats and Oils|
|Snacks, Sweets, and Condiments|
All the foods we eat have a unit of energy called calories. We must balance the calories we take in with the energy we burn. We burn energy through body functions, activities, and exercise. Weight gain happens if you eat more calories than your body uses. This is a problem because too much weight raises the risk of heart disease.
If you need to lose weight, track the calories in the food you eat. Compare those calories to the amount of calories that you burn. Make changes to balance calories and activity so that you can lose weight.
Here are some healthy habits:
When you make meals:
If you need help making these changes, talk to your doctor. A dietitian can teach you how to make changes.
Eat Right—Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Dietitians of Canada
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
2015-2020 Dietary guidelines: answers to your questions. Choose My Plate—US Department of Agriculture website. Available at: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/2015-2020-dietary-guidelines-answers-your-questions. Updated January 7, 2016. Accessed October 4, 2018.
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 September 11, 2018. Accessed October 4, 2018.
Dietary guidelines for Americans 2015-2020. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion website. Available at: https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines. Accessed October 4, 2018.
Eckel RH, Jakicic JM, Ard JD, et al. 2013 AHA/ACC guideline on lifestyle management to reduce cardiovascular risk: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation. 2014;129(25 Suppl 2):S76-S99.
Finding a balance. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/calories. Updated September 18, 2018. Accessed October 4, 2018.
Goff DC Jr. Lloyd-Jones DM, Bennett G, et al. 2013 ACC/AHA guideline on the assessment of cardiovascular risk: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation. 2014;63(25 pt B):2935-2959.
Managing blood pressure with a heart-healthy diet. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/PreventionTreatmentofHighBloodPressure/Managing-Blood-Pressure-with-a-Heart-Healthy-Diet_UCM_301879_Article.jsp#.Wr1D-i7wZQJ. Updated October 31, 2016. Accessed October 4, 2018.
Shaking the salt habit to lower high blood pressure. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/PreventionTreatmentofHighBloodPressure/Shaking-the-Salt-Habit_UCM_303241_Article.jsp#.Wr1ENy7wZQJ. Updated October 31, 2016. Accessed October 4, 2018.
The skinny on fats. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/PreventionTreatmentofHighCholesterol/Know-Your-Fats_UCM_305628_Article.jsp#.Wr1D0S7wZQJ. Accessed April 31, 2017. Accessed October 4, 2018.
Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Dianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN Last Updated: 10/4/2018